TAIPEI (CNA) — Parts of Taiwan are likely to be battered by strong winds, heavy rain and high waves Monday night, with the approach of Tropical Storm Mekkhala, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
At around 10:30 a.m., the CWB issued land and sea warnings for the storm, which it said had formed in the South China Sea earlier in the morning and was moving toward the Taiwan Strait.
The land warnings covered the island counties of Penghu and Kinmen, which can expect strong winds and heavy rains Monday night into Tuesday morning, the bureau said.
Coastal areas of those islands and northwestern Taiwan are likely to be battered by high waves, the CWB said, warning ships in those areas to be on the alert.
It said Keelung and other northern coastal areas, those south of Yulin, the Hengchun Peninsula, Orchid Island, and Green Island can also expect high waves.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, the storm was located 270 kilometers southwest of Taiwan, moving north toward the Pratas Islands, the Taiwan Strait and Fujian Province in China at a speed of 25 km per hour, according to the CWB.
Mekkhala was carrying maximum sustained winds of 72 kph, with gusts of up to 101 kph the CWB said.
As the storm approached Taiwan, the CWB issued an extremely heavy rain alert for Changhua, Nantou and Yunlin counties, warning of 200 millimeters or more of rainfall over a 24-hour period or more than 100mm in three hours.
The bureau also issued a heavy rain alert for Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi and Kaohsiung cities and Hsinchu, Miaoli, Chiayi, Pingtung, Yilan, Hualien and Taitung counties.
The heavy rain alert warns of accumulated rainfall of 80 millimeters or more over a 24-hour period.
CWB forecasting center director Lu Kuo-chen (呂國臣) told reporters that because Mekkhala was moving very fast, Penghu would begin to feel its effects around 11 p.m. Monday and Kinmen and Matsu islands at around 4 a.m. Tuesday.
He advised residents and visitors to those islands to avoid beach and water activities during the passage of the storm, which he said is likely to strengthen as it approaches Taiwan.