August 31, 2005

Schools, offices close as typhoon targets Taiwan

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan warned of flash floods and
landslides as a typhoon headed for the island on Wednesday,
with heavy rain and strong winds forcing some schools and
offices to close.

Typhoon Talim, packing maximum sustained winds of 184 kph
(114 mph) and gusts of up to 227 kph (141 mph), was about 310
km (193 miles) east of Taiwan at 0400 GMT, the Central Weather
Bureau said.

It was moving west-northwest at 21 kph (13 mph) and the
full force of the storm was projected to hit Taiwan late on
Wednesday or early Thursday morning, the bureau said.

"It looks like this will be a strong typhoon," said a
fisherman as he tied up his boat at a harbor on the north
coast, pounded by large waves. "We need to secure all the boats
or our boss will get mad."

The government ordered schools and offices in parts of
central, eastern and northern Taiwan to shut in the afternoon,
but business continued in the political and business capital of

It was not yet clear if financial markets and offices would
be open on Thursday.

The government told residents to stay away from coastal
areas and mountainous regions and rivers due to worries of
flash floods and mudslides.

Typhoons frequently hit Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines,
Hong Kong and southern China during the storm season that lasts
from early summer to late autumn.

Financial markets in Taiwan have had two shut twice this
year due to typhoons. Typhoon Haitang killed 12 people in July,
with three still listed as missing.

In 2001, one of Taiwan's deadliest years for storms,
Typhoon Toraji, killed 200 people. A few months later, Typhoon
Nari caused Taipei's worst flooding on record and killed 100.