Taiwan braces for powerful typhoon Tembin
Taiwanese authorities evacuated more than 3,000 residents from mountainous areas Thursday as a powerful typhoon approached the island and threatened to dump torrential rains that could unleash deadly landslides.
At 2:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) the Central Weather Bureau said Typhoon Tembin was located about 210 kilometers off Taitung county in southeastern Taiwan, packing winds of 155 kilometers per hour.
It said the slow-moving storm would probably make landfall around noon Friday and predicted up to 1 meter of rain in several eastern counties.
Mindful of a devastating typhoon three years ago that took 700 lives, Taiwan's military says thousands of soldiers equipped with rubber boats and amphibious vehicles have been put on alert to help with relief efforts in areas impacted by Tembin's fury.
Authorities closed schools and ordered workers home in the eastern city of Hualien, where all flights were cancelled. Schools were closed in Taitung and in parts of Kaohsiung county in the south.
Farmers were urgently harvesting crops ahead of the storm's arrival, and many homes and businesses in eastern Taiwan boarded up their windows to try to minimize damage. Outdoor events to mark a special Taiwanese Valentine's Day on Thursday were cancelled.