Severe Tropical Storm Trami on Wednesday struck in heavily populated northern Taiwan, prompting schools and offices to close down as heavy rains triggered landslides and other disruptions throughout the island.
The storm had dumped 300 millimetres (12 inches) of rain on Taipei by nightfall on Wednesday, and close to 500 millimetres (19 inches) in mountainous areas of northwestern Taiwan.
With heavy rains expected to continue through most of Thursday, those totals could easily double.
Taiwanese news channels showed a bus driver trying to navigate a partly blocked highway in Wufeng, Hsinchu county amidst ranging torrents of floodwater, as nervous tourists looked out of the windows.
A local resident, who was volunteering with rescue efforts, told reporters that a portion of the same highway was entirely blocked further up the mountainside, trapping some 70 people in the village of Hua Yuan.
“They cannot get out at the moment. But since10 am this morning (0200 GMT), everyone has moved to the emergency shelter in the village,” he said.
Authorities said no one was in immediate danger and rescue crews were working to redress the situation.
Other landslides were reported north of Taipei and in the central part of the island.
One television report showed a section of road in a suburban area of Taipei collapsed on a mountainside after the heavy rains damaged its support.
At 5:30 pm (0330 GMT), the Central Weather Bureau said the centre of the storm was located offshore, 100 kilometres (62 miles) northeast of the capital of Taipei, packing sustained winds of 108 kilometres per hour (68 miles per hour) with gusts of up to 137 kph (85 mph).
The storm was expected to complete its passage of the island’s northern coast by midnight, heading westward on a direct course toward the Chinese province of Fujian.
An increase of 10 kph (6 mph) in sustained wind speed would cause the storm to be upgraded to typhoon status, though forecasters were unsure if that would happen.
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