One of Taiwan’s small outlying islands was hit by one of the strongest gusts of wind ever measured overnight as Typhoon Koinu swept in from the Pacific.
(Bloomberg) — One of Taiwan’s small outlying islands was hit by one of the strongest gusts of wind ever measured overnight as Typhoon Koinu swept in from the Pacific.
A weather station on Lanyu island, off of Taiwan’s southeast coast, recorded a gust of wind at 342.7 kilometers per hour (213 miles per hour) on Wednesday night, according to data from the Central Weather Administration. That makes the strongest wind ever recorded in Taiwan and one of the strongest ever globally, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
Schools and offices across most of Taiwan were suspended Thursday as the typhoon skirted past the south of the island without making direct landfall. The storm is forecast to bring heavy rainfall throughout Thursday and into the early hours of Friday.
Koinu is currently about 20 kilometers west of Taiwan’s southernmost tip with sustained winds of 162 kph and gusts of up to 198 kph, the weather administration said in a statement at 9 a.m. local time.
Despite the ferocity of the winds, there are few reports of major damage or injuries. The storm knocked out power to more than 200,000 households, most of which have since seen their electricity supply restored, according to Taiwan Power Co.
Television news channels showed videos of doors being ripped off their hinges and downed trees across the outlying islands and the South.
The 342.7 kph gust detected Wednesday night fells short of the strongest gust of wind ever recorded, which was a 408 kph blast measured on Western Australia’s Barrow Island in 1996, according to World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather & Climate Extremes Archive. The previous record had been a 372 kph gust recorded on Mount Washington, New Hampshire, in 1934.
Hong Kong issued its lowest typhoon warning signal at 9:40pm local time on Wednesday and said it will remain in force for most of Thursday. The authority also cautioned for squally showers with strong northerly winds locally over the weekend.
–With assistance from Dominic Lau.
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