China says Taiwan-bound Talim could become super typhoon

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s National Meteorological Center on Tuesday warned that Typhoon Talim could intensify and turn into a super typhoon as it churns towards Taiwan and Zhejiang and Fujian provinces on the Chinese mainland.

The meteorological agency issued a blue alert, the lowest in a four-tier color-coded system for severe weather.

On Tuesday morning, the eye of Talim was 1,040 km (646 miles) southeast of Taiwan’s Yilan county, packing winds of up to 33 meters a second.

Talim is expected to hit north and northeast parts of Taiwan the hardest on Wednesday and into Thursday with heavy rains and strong gusts.

The storm will then move northwest at a speed of 25 km to 30 km an hour towards the coast of Zhejiang and Fujian, making landfall late on Thursday or early Friday, according to China’s National Meteorological Center.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, Talim will bring gales to the southern East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait and waters east of Taiwan, as well as parts of the South China Sea.

The Fujian government initiated a Grade IV emergency response on Monday night, the lowest of a four-grade emergency response system.

Relevant government agencies were told to monitor Typhoon Talim and take emergency measures in a timely manner, according to a statement on the official website of Fujian province.

State-owned China News Service reported on Tuesday that Zhejiang province had also initiated a Grade IV response.

If anything unusual was detected, government agencies should issue warnings and organize evacuations, the news report said.

The National Meteorological Center also warned of a tropical depression 205 km east of Manila in the Philippines, saying it could gather strength and become a typhoon in the next 12 hours.

Late last month, Typhoon Hato pummelled Macau with winds of more than 200 kph and wreaked havoc in the nearby financial hub of Hong Kong.

Reporting by Ryan Woo and Cheng Fang; Editing by Tom Hogue