Typhoon Saola is moving slowly across Taiwan, dumping torrential rains, triggering landslides, and forcing nearly the entire island to shut down. The typhoon arrived in Taiwan early on Thursday, a day after the storm killed 23 people and forced 154,000 from their homes in the Philippines.
They were also seeking to locate at least six stranded residents, cut off from the rest of their farming community when flood waters overwhelmed a small bridge. Edgar Ollet of the National Disaster Coordinating Center in Manila tells Voice of America News there is now an increased risk of water-borne diseases such as leptospirosis.
Television images from a police helicopter showed mudslides engulfing roads and farmland and threatening numerous households. Saola has weakened significantly in the last 12 hour due to its interaction with Taiwan’s rugged terrain.
A separate system, Typhoon Damrey, is expected to pass north of China’s financial hub of Shanghai on Friday but will weaken to a tropical storm. Packing sustained winds of 118 km/h and gusts of 154 km/h Saola was moving at only 15 km/h.
Its slow speed and heavy rains raised the prospect of potentially devastating flooding in areas that have already absorbed more than 150 centimetres of rain since Tuesday. U.S.-based forecaster Jason Nichols says Saola, which should impact China by Friday, is just the first part of a larger series of storms rolling through the region.
Many residents across the island woke up to see their neighborhoods covered in ankle-deep water, with classes and work suspended everywhere except for Taidong county in the southeast. China’s meteorological agency issued typhoon warnings on Thursday for the southern and eastern provinces of Fujian and Jiangsu. READ FULL STORY HERE Typhoon Saola Dumps Heavy Downpours Around Taiwan: