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Usagi now a typhoon, veering north: CWB

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Tropical Storm Usagi strengthened into a typhoon at 8 p.m. yesterday, and its path was veering slightly north, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) reported.

The CWB said the speed of Usagi had slowed to between 4 kph and 9 kph over the past few hours and forecast that it would move in a west-northwesterly direction, reaching speeds of up to 12 kph.

As of 2 p.m., Usagi was located some 1,120 km east-southeast of the southernmost tip of Taiwan, the bureau said, adding that if the storm maintains its current path, it could make landfall on the Hengchun Peninsula in Southern Taiwan.

Sea, Land Warnings Likely

The CWB said it was likely to issue a sea warning between late Thursday and Friday morning and a land warning by Friday noon.

Usagi, the 19th of the 2013 Pacific typhoon season, is moving toward waters south of the Hengchun Peninsula.

It is expected to have its strongest effect on Taiwan from early Saturday to early Sunday, said the bureau, which did not rule out the possibility that the storm could make landfall in Taiwan.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Usagi was centered some 1,150 km east-southeast the southernmost tip of Taiwan, moving in a westerly direction at a speed of 9 kph, according to the CWB.

The typhoon was packing sustained winds of 90 kph, with gusts of up to 118 kph.

The periphery of the storm could bring intermittent rain or thunderstorms to Northern and Eastern Taiwan and mountainous areas of Central and Southern Taiwan Thursday, the first day of the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival holiday break, the bureau said.

The typhoon could also bring showers to areas around Taiwan from Sept. 20-22, it added.

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A boat unloads passengers at Fugang Fishing Harbor in Taitung, yesterday. As Typhoon Usagi closes in, wind speeds and waves increased around Taitung County. As the boat from Green Island docked at the harbor at 3:30 p.m. yesterday, the boat company announced that the transportation service would be halted until Saturday. (CNA)

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