2008-07-28 08:30:17 GMT 2008-07-28 16:30:17 (Beijing Time) China Daily
Tourists are evacuated from a coastal resort in Fuzhou, capital of East China's Fujian Province, July 27, 2008. The intensifying Typhoon Fung Wong was forecast to land in Fujian on Monday evening or Tuesday morning. [Xinhua]
TAIPEI -- A typhoon packing wind gusts of up to 190 kph (about 120 mph) and forecast to dump up to a metre (40 inches) of rain in places was on course to hit Taiwan island on Monday morning, prompting business and market closures.
Typhoon Fung-Wong, Chinese for phoenix, was moving northwest at 13 kph, set to make landfall late Monday morning near the city of Hualien, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said on its website (www.cwb.gov.tw).
The storm's approach generated rough sea warnings as markets, offices and schools across the island shut for the day.
Transport was disrupted on the island with most domestic flights and rail service suspended, although media reported that international flights were still operating at Taiwan's main international airport at Taoyuan.
Heavy rains began to fall in the early hours of Monday morning and were expected to continue throughout the day, with some of the hardest hit areas expected to receive up to 1,000 mm of rain, according to forecasts.
Tropical Storm Risk (www.tropicalstormrisk.com) said Fung-Wong was a category 2 storm, and would likely be downgraded to a category 1 storm over the next 24 hours as it crossed Taiwan and headed toward Fujian province. A category 2 storm is defined as having maximum sustained winds of 154-177 kph.
From Taiwan, the storm is expected to cross over the Taiwan Strait and arrive in East China's Fujian Province on Monday night or Tuesday morning.
In Fujian, authorities evacuated over 270,000 people ahead of the storm's arrival.
Experts say Fung-Wong might become the most powerful storm to hit East Asia this year, with heavy rain expected to fall over a long period.
Fung-Wong is the second typhoon to hit Taiwan in the last two weeks. On July 18, typhoon Kalmaegi killed at least 20 people and caused extensive flooding, landslides and crop damage in the south and central part of the island.