Typhoon Lekima weakens earlier than forecast: CWB

TAIPEI (CNA) — The winds and rainfall brought by Typhoon Lekima have fallen short of forecasts, with the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) saying the typhoon has weakened earlier than expected.

As of 11 a.m. Friday, maximum sustained winds brought by Lekima had weakened from 184kph to 173kph (averaged over a 10-minute period), while the intensity of gusts of wind (sustained for 1 minute) had fallen from 221kph to 209kph, according to CWB data.

The international standard for a typhoon is when maximum sustained winds reach 119 kph.

Meanwhile, the radius of Lekima had shrunk from 280km to 250km, the bureau said.

It was located about 230 kilometers east-northeast of Taipei, moving at a speed of 13kph in a northwesterly direction, according to bureau data.

As Lekima continues to weaken, the bureau has lifted land warnings for Hualien, Taichung, Hsinchu and Miaoli.

Warnings remain in effect for Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan, Yilan and Matsu, the CWB said, cautioning that occasional heavy rainfall are likely in northern and central Taiwan.

The bureau also lowered its forecast for accumulated rainfall from Aug. 7-10, with that for mountainous areas in New Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli reduced by as much as 300mm to 300-600mm.

For example, forecasts of three-day accumulated rainfall in plains areas have been lowered by 100mm in New Taipei, with 300mm-500mm of rainfall now expected, while Taipei and Keelung will see 200-350mm of rain compared with 300-500mm as initially forecast.

According to bureau statistics, mountainous areas in Hsinchu received the heaviest rainfall, with about 208mm from 10 a.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday.

In terms of wind speed, Pengjia Islet off northern Taiwan recorded the top speed of nine knots, followed by five knots in Taipei and three knots in Taitung. One knot equals to 1.852kph.

The bureau also added that Foehn winds, warm and dry gusts that descend the sheltered side of mountains into valleys, could send temperatures soaring to 36-38 degrees Celsius in eastern and southeastern Taiwan.

By Lee Hsin-Yin