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September 23, 2017

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CWB pushes back Typhoon Tembin landfall

The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) announced that the landfall of Typhoon Tembin will be delayed, as it was, as of yesterday, moving at a slow pace. It was located 320 kilometers east of Taitung County, moving at speed of 6 kilometers per hour in a west-northwesterly direction, packing sustained winds of 144 kph and gusts reaching 180 kph. President Ma Ying-jeou headed to the Central Emergency Operating Center (CEOC) at 8 p.m. to supervise preparations and precautionary measures ahead of the unstable weather.

Ma said at the meeting, "Because the typhoon is so unpredictable, we must brace ourselves in multiple areas for the disaster."

As a precautionary measure, schools and flights have been cancelled in several regions of Taiwan. Hualien and Taitung County announced schools and businesses will be closed after noon; TransAsia Airways (復興航空) has also cancelled all domestic flights scheduled after.

Dangerous Possibilities

The timing of Tembin landfall was delayed to early Friday morning. While Tembin is considered a mild storm, another typhoon, Bolaven, looms behind at a distance of around 1,500 kilometers. Although it appeared unlikely that both typhoons will come into contact with each other, the CWB warned that both storms could increase the chances of emergency scenarios on the East Coast of Taiwan. They also considered the possibility that Typhoon Bolaven may evolve into a heavier typhoon.

The CWB predicted Tembin would carry "torrential rains," and warned each region to prepare for heavy mudslides and flooding. The Soil and Water Conservation Bureau (SWCB) under the Council of Agriculture issued landslide warnings in Hualien County yesterday. Disaster Prevention Center Director Chen Mei-chen (陳美珍) stated that according to the CWB, the total precipitation amount could exceed 1,000 millimeters in mountainous areas, and warned Kaohsiung's Namaxia, Taoyuan and Liouguei areas, as well as Pingtung County's Laiyi Township, to prepare for possible evacuation.

Farmers Harvest Crops Before Typhoon

Local farmers scrambled to gather ripe crops and fruits before the typhoon arrives in Taiwan. Anxious ahead of the storm, Mado pomelo farmers (麻豆柚農) of Tainan clambered to pick the ripe pomelos before the disastrous rainfall. A frustrated farmer said, "Didn't a typhoon just leave? How come another one is following right behind?" Since it is summer vacation, farmers rounded up their children to help gather the pomelos in a hurry to complete the harvest before today.

Evacuation Issued

As a disaster prevention measure, Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) yesterday ordered evacuations for flood prone areas of Taiwan's East Coast. The local government of Hualien County ordered an evacuation of low-lying and flood-prone areas Zhuoxi (卓溪), Xiulin (秀林) and Wanrong (萬榮), before 6 p.m., yesterday.

The Ministry of National Defense has aided in evacuations, accommodating nearly 200 residents at a military base in Chiayi County. More than 49,000 soldiers are on standby to provide relief and rescue aid, and 107 military bases around the island are ready to shelter up to 53,272 evacuees, the ministry said.

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