TAIPEI, Taiwan (2nd UPDATE) – Taiwan suffered flooding, widespread power outages and winds of over a hundred miles and hour as it was battered by its first typhoon of the year on Saturday, July 29.
Much of the island came to a standstill, with most train services suspended and as many as 249,230 households without electricity as Typhoon Nesat – packing gust of up to 180 kilometers (111.8 miles) an hour –- blasted across the country.
The storm made landfall at 1110 GMT (7:10 pm Philippine time) in the eastern Yilan county, whipping up massive waves of over 15 meters (49.2 feet).
Taiwan’s weather bureau warned of torrential rain in the eastern and southern counties, with the tropical storm expected to dump as much as 900 millimeters (35.4 inches) of water in some areas.
More than 10,000 people had to be evacuated, with 4,564 soldiers deployed for disaster relief.
The southernmost county of Pingtung suffered the worst flooding as of Saturday night, with dozens of residents stranded.
Images showed motorcyclists in the area pushing their vehicles knee-deep in water and others with their homes flooded.
Air travel was also disrupted, a total of 312 domestic and international flights cancelled.
Another impending storm – Typhoon Haitang – is also set to threaten Taiwan according to the weather bureau.
Haitang was 420 kilometers (261 miles) southwest of Cape Eluanbi, the southernmost tip of the island, and barreling towards Taiwan.
Although Nesat is Taiwan’s first typhoon this year, the island was pounded by heavy rains last month.
At least one person died in June floods in the north of the country, after 600 millimeters of rain fell in under 11 hours in some areas.
Taiwan’s government has stepped up preventive measures against tropical storms since typhoon Morakot left more than 400 people dead in its wake in 2009. – Rappler.com