September 14, 2008

Typhoon Sinlaku Hits Taiwan, 13 Injured, 782 Affected

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

TAIPEI, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) - Typhoon Sinlaku, the 13th tropical storm so far this year in China, injured 13 people when it hit northeastern Taiwan at 1:50 a.m. on Sunday.

The typhoon landed in Yilan County, Taiwan, with winds up to 45 meters per second, monitored by the Fujian provincial meteorological observatory at 5:00 a.m..

More than 130,000 households suffered a power blackout, and 800 lost their water supply, which has yet to be reconnected. A total of 32 shelters have been built for 782 typhoon victims, local authority said.

Work and schools were suspended in 21 counties and cities on the island on Sunday.

For the Taiwanese, this is the third time for them to encounter a typhoon while celebrating China's traditional Mid-Autumn Festival in the past 18 years.

The sudden storm paralysed part of the rail system, delayed dozens of air flights, and caused numerous festivities to be suspended or cancelled.

The Festival, which falls on Sunday, is a time for the islanders to have family dinners and attend outdoor activities. But this year, music concerts, performances had all to be postponed or rearranged due to the arrival of Sinlaku.

Instead of outdoor activities such as outing and barbecue, people opted for other entertainment venues including cinemas or karaoke bars and stayed indoors to have family dinners and eat mooncake.

Braving wind and rain, local residents also worshipped gods in local temples in the day.

In Fujian and Zhejiang provinces on the Chinese mainland, more than 170,000 people were evacuated from low-lying coastal regions.

The foehn phenomenon, a rare warm dry wind triggered by Sinlaku, swept through Taitung County from Saturday noon to Sunday morning, lasting about 18 hours.

Foehn phenomenon always comes off the lee slopes of a mountain range.

At 12:55 a.m. on Saturday, the local temperature increased from 29.7 degrees centigrade to 31.7, with a low humidity. Temperatures then experienced a sharp increase to 35 degrees centigrade in seven minutes. At 4:00 p.m., the temperature reached 37.8 high.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1607 14 Sep 08.

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