Taiwan lifts land warning for Typhoon Lekima

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Typhoon Lekima left Taiwan Friday evening.

Typhoon Lekima left Taiwan Friday evening. (CNA photo)

Taipei (CNA) - The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) lifted its land warning for Typhoon Lekima on Friday evening but warned that the southwesterly winds it has drawn could bring heavy rainfall to central and southern Taiwan.

People in those areas, particularly in mountainous areas in Kaohsiung and Pingtung, should be prepared for extreme heavy rain through Sunday, said CWB senior technical specialist Hsieh Ming-chang (謝明昌).

As of 8 p.m. Friday, Lekima was packing maximum sustained winds of 173 kph (averaged over a 10-minute period), with gusts (sustained for 1 minute) of up to 209 kph. The international standard for a typhoon is when maximum sustained winds reach 119 kph.

With a radius of 250 km, the storm was located about 280 kilometers north of Taipei, moving at a speed of 17 kph in a northwesterly direction, according to bureau data.

The sea warning for Lekima remains in place, added the bureau, which urged ship operators in waters north of Taiwan to take precautions.

The winds and rainfall Typhoon Lekima brought to Taiwan fell short of forecasts as it weakened earlier than expected and veered north away from the island, the bureau explained, and it said the storm will continue to weaken as it heads toward eastern China.

According to bureau data, mountainous areas in Hsinchu topped the country with nearly 400 mm of rainfall accumulated from midnight Aug. 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, while parts of New Taipei and Taichung recorded more than 300 mm of precipitation.

In terms of gusts, Pengjia Islet off northern Taiwan recorded the strongest winds at 142 kph, followed by winds of 128 kph on Orchid Island and 90 kph in Keelung.

The bureau also added that Foehn winds -- warm and dry gusts that descend the sheltered side of mountains into valleys -- could send temperatures soaring to 36-38 degrees Celsius in eastern and southeastern Taiwan. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)