TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Even though Typhoon Nesat (尼莎) is not expected to land in Taiwan until Saturday evening, the next tropical storm, Haitang (海棠), was already roaring toward the island, with land and sea alerts valid for two storms simultaneously for the first time in 50 years, the Central Weather Bureau said.
Until 3 p.m. Saturday, Haitang was just a tropical depression over the South China Sea, but at that time, it gained enough strength to be labeled the 10th tropical storm of this year’s typhoon season.
The new storm was so close to Taiwan that the weather bureau declared land and sea alerts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Haitang was being pulled up northward by Nesat, leading to the possibility of a Fujiwhara effect (藤原效應), where two cyclones or typhoons within 2,000 kilometers of each other orbit each other or even merge into one storm.
A similar situation occurred in 1997 when typhoons Amber and Cass both came close to Taiwan.
Haitang was expected to hit land somewhere in southern Taiwan around noon Sunday and then move up the island, while Nesat once more adjusted its course. The typhoon’s landfall had earlier been predicted to happen around 9 p.m. Saturday in Hualien County, but later forecasts said Nesat was both slowing down and moving north, which could make it hit Yilan County instead closer to midnight.
By early Sunday evening, Nesat would have moved off into China, while Haitang would be situated near Taichung in Central Taiwan, according to forecasters.