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CWB closely watching typhoon movements after [issuing] sea warning

The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) continued monitoring the movement of Typhoon Sinlaku after it issued a sea warning yesterday morning as the weather system continued to move toward waters east of Taiwan from the Philippines.

The bureau will decide if to sound a land warning this morning or later in the day.

When issuing the sea warning, CWB officials advised ships operating near the Bashi Channel and in waters southeast and northeast of Taiwan to take extra precautions.

The outer edges of the typhoon already brought heavy rains to northeastern Taiwan as well the mountainous areas in northern Taiwan yesterday, the bureau said.

The CWB has intensified the monitoring as Sinlaku has been continuously building up strength with a likelihood of landing on the eastern coast of Taiwan although it was moving at a relatively slow pace to the north.

Sinlaku, meaning "goddess" in Micronesian, was centered 400 kilometers east of Oluanpi, Taiwan's southern-most tip, packing maximum sustained winds of 184 kilometers per hour and moving north-northwesterly at 7 kph at 8:00 p.m., according to the CWB.

The bureau predicted that the typhoon -- which had a radius of 250 km -- will continue to strengthen, and that it is likely to expand in size.

Forecasters at the CWB said an intensifying Pacific high-pressure system could draw Sinlaku closer to Taiwan today, and that the CWB will continue to monitor the typhoon's movement to decide whether to issue a land warning.

By 8:00 p.m. today, Sinlaku is expected to reach the area of about 310 km off the northeastern Yilan County on its way toward Japan.

The forecasters warned that Sinlaku could bring severe disaster to Taiwan if it develops into a strong typhoon and hits the island directly.

They advised the public to take proper precautions to guard against possible flash floods and mudslides. Motorists should slow down because of poorer visibility in heavy rains, they said.

They also suggested that people choose public transportation for safety under bad weather conditions.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has instructed the state-owned Taiwan Railway Administration to provide extra runs for a surge of passengers who plan to return home for family unions for the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival (aka Moon Festival) Sunday.

The CWB predicted that residents in the northern, northeastern and central regions of Taiwan might not be able to appreciate the beautiful moon or hold large-scale outdoor barbecues on the festival because the slow-moving typhoon may still be lingering in waters north of Taiwan by then.



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