September 1, 2005

Typhoon hits China after killing two in Taiwan

BEIJING (Reuters) - Typhoon Talim swept into southern China
on Thursday after killing two people in Taiwan and injuring 39
as the island shut businesses, schools and financial markets to
ride out the storm.

Talim cut power lines, toppled billboards and tore up
trees, while heavy rain led to flooding in some towns in
central Taiwan.

The number of households in Taiwan without power was as
high as 1.48 million at one point, but electricity had since
been restored to about half, officials said. Some 48,500
households were without running water.

The average windspeed had died down to about 126 kmh (78
mph) with gusts at 162 kmh.

The center of the storm crossed into China's Fujian
province around 0630 GMT, bringing heavy winds and strong rain
that knocked out power to large parts of the provincial
capital, Fuzhou, the news Web site reported.

Eastern Zhejiang province had evacuated more than 290,000
people and called nearly 30,000 boats back to port, the Web
site said.

Taiwan's National Fire Administration's disaster response
center said one man in south Taiwan drowned in a fish pond on
Wednesday after losing his footing.

A car-rental firm employee was blown off the seventh storey
of a multilevel car park late on Wednesday in Miaoli city in
north Taiwan while checking on the company's fleet, the
administration said.

The winds that had ripped through Taipei in the early hours
had weakened by the time the capital awoke, leaving a trail of
uprooted trees and collapsed street signs.

"The winds were really fierce and it was very dangerous
driving through the torrential rain last night," said taxi
driver Tsai Ming-wang, who had just finished an overnight

"I heard a loud bang and saw scaffolding had crashed into
the street right next to my car. It was a close shave."

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

(Additional reporting by Tiffany Wu and Michael Kramer in