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Taiwan braces itself for arrival of Soulik

(Shanghai Daily)

09:38, July 12, 2013

Tourists grapple with a banner against strong winds brought by Typhoon Soulik on its approach to the northeastern harbor of Wushih in Taiwan yesterday. The island evacuated more than 2,000 tourists as it braced for the super-typhoon. Taiwan's weather bureau issued a "land warning" at 8:30pm, a signal issued when a storm is thought to be 18 hours away. It said the typhoon would remain a threat although latest information showed its strength had been declining. On the Chinese mainland, weather authorities maintained an orange alert - the second-highest level - for Soulik. After hitting or passing Taiwan tomorrow, the typhoon is expected to head toward the coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian.

Taiwan evacuated more than 2,000 tourists yesterday as the island braced for super-typhoon Soulik.

Taiwan's weather bureau issued a "land warning" at 8:30pm, a signal issued when a storm is thought to be 18 hours away from the island.

It said the typhoon would remain a threat to Taiwan although latest information shows its strength has declined slightly in the past few hours.

The typhoon, packing gusts of up to 209 kilometers per hour, was 710 kilometers east southeast of the island's Yilan City in the northeast at 9pm, the weather bureau said.

Soulik is moving west-northwest towards Taiwan at about 23 kilometers per hour and could narrowly miss the island or make landfall on its northern tip sometime between late today and tomorrow morning, the bureau said.

"The public must heighten their vigilance as the typhoon will certainly bring strong winds and heavy rains," the weather forecaster said.

Authorities evacuated 2,300 tourists from Green Island, off the southeastern city of Taitung, and issued a warning to ships sailing north and east of Taiwan to take special precautions.

The Emergency Operation Center also asked the public to stay away from the mountainous areas of central Taiwan, where two recent earthquakes have struck.

"The soil in the areas has been loosened after the two strong quakes and are prone to landslides," it said.

On the Chinese mainland, meteorological authorities maintained an orange alert - the second-highest level - for Soulik yesterday, Xinhua news agency reported.

After hitting or passing Taiwan tomorrow, Soulik is expected to head towards the coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian, bringing "extremely strong" winds, Xinhua cited the National Meteorological Center as saying.

Zhejiang and Fujian yesterday recalled ships to ports and suspended some marine traffic, Xinhua said.

Despite the possibility of it moderating to a strong typhoon or a typhoon upon landfall, Soulik will be the most powerful typhoon to affect Fujian in years, Xinhua said.

Starting today, the province will experience rainstorms in several cities and winds of up to 149 kilometers per hour in the nearby sea areas. Three ferry lines linking Taiwan and Fujian have been suspended, according to the news agency.

Authorities in Zhejiang Province have also ordered fishing vessels to return to port, Xinhua reported, as the approaching storm is expected to whip up billows of five to eight meters high in the nearby sea areas starting last night.

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