TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The threat posed to Taiwan by Tropical Storm Danas was less serious than assumed earlier as the Central Weather Bureau said Wednesday (July 17) evening that its route was likely to fall further east from Taiwan’s east coast.
During the afternoon, Pingtung County was dropped from land warnings first issued at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, while Taitung County and Hualien County on the east coast followed suit at 8:30 p.m.
By 7 p.m., the eye of the storm was located 360 kilometers east-southeast of Taiwan’s southernmost tip, Eluanbi, and moving north-northwest at a speed of 17 km per hour. The strong winds were already affecting the Bashi Channel separating the island from the Philippines, with ferry services linking Green Island and Orchid Island to the rest of Taitung County suspended, and schools and offices on the two small islands closed from 6 p.m.
The weather bureau said that later revisions of the storm’s route were likely and that Danas could actually take a path still further away from Taiwan’s main island and barrel toward the Korean peninsula, the Central News Agency reported.
On Tuesday (July 16), initial reports had predicted Danas would make landfall in Taitung County and cross the island to emerge in the Taiwan Strait near Hsinchu before heading toward Shanghai.
Even with the latest changes, Taiwan still needed to prepare for large amounts of rain and strong winds, with landslides, falling rocks, and flooding in lower areas still posing risks to residents, reports said. Members of the public were advised against staying close to the coastline to watch the waves or traveling in the mountains during the storm.
The worst weather was expected to hit Taiwan Thursday (July 18) and early Friday (July 19).