Super Typhoon Saola pummeled the south of Taiwan early Wednesday with strong winds and heavy rain, shutting offices and canceling some flights before heading to Hong Kong.
(Bloomberg) — Super Typhoon Saola pummeled the south of Taiwan early Wednesday with strong winds and heavy rain, shutting offices and canceling some flights before heading to Hong Kong.
Authorities in Taiwan, where no typhoon has made landfall since 2019, closed offices and schools in parts of Kaohsiung and Pingtung Wednesday and canceled more than a dozen flights. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it has placed emergency response teams on standby.
The cyclone was located around 190 kilometers (118 miles) off Taiwan’s southernmost point as of Wednesday morning, packing sustained winds of 191 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 234 kilometers per hour (145mph), according to the island’s Central Weather Bureau.
Saola, which has rapidly intensified from a low-pressure area north of the Philippines last week into a super typhoon, is likely to close in on Hong Kong by Thursday, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. The authorities there plan to issue the lowest typhoon warning Wednesday evening.
China’s National Meteorological Center forecasts the typhoon to make landfall in Guangdong or Fujian on Friday and has issued an orange alert, the second-highest in its four-tier color-coded system for severe weather. Saola is projected to retain super-typhoon strength until Friday, and to move west along the coast of China’s Guangdong province through the weekend, weakening as it goes, according to the center.
One factor complicating forecasts is Tropical Cyclone Haikui, currently in the Pacific east of the northern Philippines, which may interact with Saola, causing uncertainty over its path and movement, according to the Hong Kong weather agency.
The Philippines has borne the brunt of the typhoon so far, with nearly 200 towns flooded and 50,000 people forced to flee to safer grounds. Schools in several northern provinces are closed as wind signals remain hoisted in those areas.
More than 40 roads and bridges remain unpassable in the north of the country. Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba extended the suspension of classes, while parts of Ilocos Sur province also shut schools Wednesday, ABS-CBN reported. Relief operations are underway, the disaster management agency said.
–With assistance from Dominic Lau, Debby Wu, Jessica Sui, Kevin Ding, Ditas Lopez, Manolo Serapio Jr. and Andreo Calonzo.
(Adds China’s forecast in fifth paragraph.)
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.