Typhoon Talim veers away from Taiwan, moves towards Japan

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan will lift a shipping warning later on Thursday after Typhoon Talim veered away from the island and moved towards Japan but the capital, Taipei, and other cities can expect heavy rains from the storm, meteorologists said.

Sandbags are prepared ahead of Typhoon Talim in a landmark building Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Some flight cancellations could also still be expected as northern Taiwan is lashed by heavy rain.

Talim had gained in strength since Wednesday as it approached Taiwan’s northern cities, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), but it has now shifted north and will not make landfall in Taiwan.

It also might not hit the Chinese mainland as it veers towards Japan, the bureau said.

Japan’s southern Ryukyu Islands have begun to feel the effects, with reports that strong winds and heavy rainfall have caused power outages as the typhoon churns in the sea between Taiwan and Japan with maximum sustained wind speeds at sea of 173 km/h (107 mph) and gusts of up to 209 km/h (130 mph).

The bureau said bad weather associated with the storm will still be felt in the north and northeast of Taiwan on Thursday.

“The effects of Talim have been less severe than many international weather authorities predicted, including those of us in Taiwan, the U.S., China and Japan,” said CWB forecaster Wang Chun-hsien.

Talim had been expected to move towards China, where more than 200,000 people in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces have been evacuated, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.

The CWB’s current forecast projected the storm to veer northeast towards Japan’s western coast. However, it could change course again.

China Airlines and EVA Airways, Taiwan’s two largest carriers, said they would cancel some international flights later on Thursday due to the storm’s proximity.

Typhoons are a seasonal routine for Taiwan, but the island has stepped up preparations since Typhoon Morakat in 2009. Morakat was the deadliest typhoon to hit the island in recorded history, killing close to 700 people, most in landslides.

Reporting by Faith Hung; Editing by Paul Tait