TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taitung County became the first part of Taiwan to announce a shutdown of schools and offices for Saturday afternoon as tropical storm Nesat was upgraded to typhoon status and expected to make landfall in the southeastern region.
Orchid Island (蘭嶼), an island mainly inhabited by indigenous people off the coast of Taitung County, and Green Island (綠島) much closer to its coast would have all day Saturday off as they would be the first to bear the brunt of the oncoming storm.
Taipei City, New Taipei City and Keelung were expected to announce a decision by 10 p.m. Friday, but expectations for a typhoon holiday were low as the storm, the first one to hit Taiwan this season, was expected to cross the island well south of the capital.
By 9:15 p.m. Friday, the eye of the storm was situated over the Pacific Ocean 400 kilometers southeast of Hualien, the Central Weather Bureau said. It was moving northwest at a speed of 16 km per hour. The storm was upgraded to typhoon status as its winds blew at 119 kph with gusts of up to 155 kph.
Nesat was expected to make landfall after 5 p.m. Saturday on Taiwan’s east coast north of Taitung City and then cross the island’s central mountain range to reach the Taiwan Straits on Sunday, forecasters said.
The passage of the typhoon would result in southwesterly winds which would bring torrential rain to many parts of central and southern Taiwan even after Nesat had veered into China’s Fujian Province on Monday, according to weather experts.