As Typhoon Haikui Rolls in, Taiwan Shuts Down

Dueling storms hit China, Taiwan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 3, 2023 7:33 AM CDT
As Typhoon Haikui Rolls in, Taiwan Shuts Down
People struggle to walk against gusts of wind generated by Typhoon Haikui in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023.   (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Taiwan suspended flights, rail transport, and ferry services along with classes and outdoor events and urged workers to stay home on Sunday as Typhoon Haikui churned across the southern part of the island. The AP reports that the typhoon made landfall in Taitung county on the Pacific-facing east coast around 3pm local time on Sunday, bringing sustained winds of 96mph and gusts of 120mph. The winds and driving rains forced in unsecured doors, uprooted trees—at least one of which crushed a parked minivan—and caused flooding in some low-lying areas. There had been no mass evacuations, although dozens sheltered in school gymnasiums and public meeting halls. There appeared to be little serious damage, and some shops remained open, partly to dispose of locally grown fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste.

Haikui's arrival came as Typhoon Saola continued to weaken while swirling along the Chinese coast, where 900,000 people and 80,000 fishing vessels had been moved to safety. Most of Hong Kong and parts of the coastal mainland had suspended business, transport, and classes. Damage appeared to be minimal, however, and restrictions had largely been lifted by Sunday. On Saturday night, the Hong Kong Observatory had canceled all warnings. Among events canceled in Taiwan were a hot air balloon festival in the central Taichung region, several outdoor concerts, art events, and a baseball game. National parks and treacherous roads in the island's mountainous center were also closed. Haikui was expected to continue toward China after crossing over Taiwan, and authorities in the Chinese city of Shantou in Guangdong province were advising residents to take precautions.

Because of the previous Typhoon Saola, workers in a number of Chinese cities stayed at home and students saw the start of their school year postponed from Friday to Monday. Trading on Hong Kong's stock market was suspended Friday and hundreds of people were stranded at the airport after about 460 flights were canceled in the key regional business and travel hub. The cross-border bridge connecting Hong Kong, the gambling hub of Macao, and manufacturing center of Zhuhai was closed at one point, with Macao leader Ho Iat Seng ordering a halt to casino operations. In recent months, China has experienced some of its heaviest rains and deadliest flooding in years. Dozens of people have been killed, including in outlying mountainous parts of the capital, Beijing.

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Despite the twin storms, China's military continued to conduct operations meant to intimidate Taiwan. Taiwan's Defense Ministry said it was monitoring the movements of Chinese military aircraft and navy ships near the island. However, it said there were no indications any had crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait or entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone as they frequently do. (More severe weather stories.)

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