Taiwan battens down for another beating as Typhoon Malakas closes in

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 September, 2016, 11:14pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 September, 2016, 8:40am

Taiwan evacuated more than 2,700 residents, ­and suspended train services and flights on Saturday as ­Typhoon Malakas brushed the island’s east coast, bringing strong winds and torrential rain over the mid-autumn break.

Malakas closed in on Taiwan two days after Super Typhoon Meranti – the strongest storm so far this year – battered the island, leaving one person dead and 44 injured. There were no reports of injuries from Malakas by late Saturday afternoon. But 2,788 people in the north were evacuated to safety as a precautionary measure, the island’s Central News Agency reported.

Administrations in five northeast cities, including New Taipei City, Keelung and Hualien, ordered all offices and classes to close on the weekend, with weather authorities forecasting the edge of the storm to remain over the area until 4am on Sunday.

New Taipei City reported 50mm of rain in just three hours on Saturday and the island’s Central Weather Bureau issued alerts for extreme downpours. Mudflowalerts were also issued by the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau.

The storm cut power to more than 6,600 households but electricity supplies were restored to most of the affected by 2.30pm on Saturday, according to CNA.

As of 4pm, 39 passenger flights had been cancelled and another 25 delayed at Taoyuan International Airport, affecting 12,800 passengers, the report said. Four cargo flights were also cancelled.

Typhoon Meranti leaves 13 dead, 700,000 affected in southern mainland China as Taiwan braces for new round of pummelling from Malakas

Other airports in Taiwan were also affected. In all, 143 domestic flights were cancelled and one delayed by 11am, while 54 cross-strait or international flights were scrubbed and 10 others delayed, the report said.

Train services in northern Taiwan were also suspended, resuming after 6pm as the typhoon travelled northward away from the island.

Strong winds and rain has also hit the southeast Chiayi county, triggering dozens of mudslides and rockfalls.

With today the last day of the island’s four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, domestic carrier UNI Air said it would put on four extra flights – two ­between Kinmen and Songshan, and one each ­between Kaohsiung and Magong and Magong and Songshan – to help clear the backlog.