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Typhoon Meranti taking toll in southern Taiwan

Typhoon Meranti taking toll in southern Taiwan

The weather in southern Taiwan will worsen through noon Thursday as Typhoon Meranti swirls through the Bashi Channel, the Central Weather Bureau said Wednesday.

As of 1 p.m., the typhoon was centered 90 kilometers west-northwest of Hengchun Township in southernmost Taiwan, and was moving at a speed of 18 km per hour in a northwesterly direction, the bureau said.

With a radius of 220 kilometers, the storm was carrying maximum sustained winds of about 191 km per hour, with gusts of up to 234 kph, the bureau's data showed.

The eye of the storm did not make landfall in Taiwan, instead straddling its southern coast, but outlying Orchid Island off of southeastern Taiwan and Hengchun experienced wind gusts of up to 240 kph and 183 kph, respectively, forecasters said.

The southern winds brought by Meranti are also expected to bring increasing rainfall to Tainan and Kaohsiung, the bureau said. Typhoon Meranti has already led to severe flight disruptions across the country on Wednesday, according to airline companies.

TransAsia Airways said it has canceled all domestic flights except for service between Taipei-Hualien, while Mandarin Airlines canceled all domestic flights Wednesday and Uni Air canceled all domestic flights after noon.

Also on Wednesday, Far Eastern Air Transport said all flights to and from Kaohsiung were canceled, while its flights between Taichung and outlying Kinmen and Penghu counties have been canceled since noon and service between Taipei and Kinmen and Penghu countries was canceled after 2 p.m.

Daily Air has also canceled all domestic flights on Wednesday.

On international flights, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport continues to operate normally, but flights in and out of Kaohsiung and Tainan have been affected.

All international flights scheduled to depart from Kaohsiung International Airport after 9 a.m. Wednesday have been canceled or rescheduled, with the exception of two Tigerair Taiwan flights scheduled to leave for Osaka at 7:20 p.m. and for Macau at 7:35 p.m.

All international arrivals scheduled Wednesday where canceled or rescheduled with the exception of four EVA Air flights scheduled to arrive between 2:30 p.m. and 3:40 p.m. from various destinations in East Asia.

However, the first of the four, scheduled to arrive from Osaka, was diverted to land at Taipei Songshan Airport, according to the airport's website.

As of 2 p.m., the other three EVA Air flights were still scheduled to land in Kaohsiung.

Of the China Airlines flights to and from Kaohsiung on Wednesday, some were postponed until early Thursday morning.

They included flight CI167 from Osaka to Kaohsiung, which was postponed to arrive at 3:50 a.m., and flight CI165 from Incheon to Kaohsiung, which is now scheduled to arrive at 4 a.m.

Other postponed flights included flight CI712 from Manila to Kaohsiung, which will now arrive at 4:05 a.m., CI948 from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung, now scheduled to arrive at 5:10 a.m., and flights CI103 and CI102, scheduled to leave Narita for Kaohsiung at 8 a.m. and fly back to Narita at 12:50 p.m.

The storm also affected ferries in outlying Kinmen.

Services from Chiukung to Shuitou were suspended after 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, while return services were canceled after 10:15 a.m. (By Wang Shu-feng and Lee Hsin-Yin)

Updated : 2021-05-19 05:46 GMT+08:00