The China Post staff and CNA
A sea warning for Typhoon Sepat is expected to be issued today at the earliest, as the typhoon has continued to increase in intensity and move toward Taiwan, reported the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday.
As of 10 a.m. yesterday, Sepat was centered 1,100 km southeast of Taiwan, moving west-northwesterly at 11 kph and packing maximum sustained winds of 175 kph, CWB meteorologists said.
Residents of low-lying areas and people living near mountain slopes were also advised about possible flash floods and landslides.
Sepat is expected to slam into Taiwan late on Thursday as a category 4 typhoon, one level below the maximum strength super typhoon, according to the British-based Web site, Tropical Storm Risk (www.tropicalstormrisk.com).
Tropical storms in the region gather intensity from the warm ocean waters and frequently develop into typhoons that hit Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and southern China during a season that lasts from early summer to late autumn.
The meteorologists forecast that Sepat, the eighth tropical storm reported in the West Pacific area this year, may continue to gain strength to become a strong typhoon over the next two days.
The CWB urged residents around the island to be on high alert against the new typhoon, which is very likely to make landfall in Taiwan based on its current course,adding that mountainous areas are now extremely vulnerable to landslides due to the fact that the soil in these areas is saturated with water in the wake of two tropical storms — Pabuk and Wutip — which swept across Taiwan last week.
In Manila, heavy rain soaked Manila and the northern Philippines on Wednesday as Typhoon Sepat skirted northeast of the archipelago, triggering evacuations and flood warnings.
In the capital, schools and government offices were ordered to shut and cars were brought to a near standstill as the rain flooded streets, forcing residents to wade to work.
The weather bureau said Sepat was not expected to make landfall in the Philippines, as it moves westward towards Taiwan and China. The storm brought winds of 160 km per hour (100 mph) and gusts of up to 195 km per hour, the bureau said.
Officials said there were no reports of casualties or serious damage but over 200 people were evacuated in Manila.