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Archive for Sunday, September 8, 2002

Typhoon soaks Taiwan

Island escapes severe damage from storm

September 8, 2002

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— Typhoon Sinlaku churned on toward China Saturday after battering Taiwan with waves and drenching it with rain, but causing no major damage. One woman was presumed dead after being swept away by violent surf.

The typhoon was headed toward southeastern China, traveling between 11 mph and 14 mph, twice as fast as on Friday. It was expected to hit just north of Fuzhou, a city of 1.4 million people, by early Sunday.

Last week, Sinlaku's eye passed over Japan's Okinawan island chain. Twenty-nine people were injured there, some of them when their houses collapsed

Although Taiwan escaped serious destruction, "there was still a chance the brunt of the storm would dump heavier rains and bring stronger winds," said Lee Hsiang-yuan, a Central Weather Bureau forecaster.

International flights continued to operate but airlines urged travelers to check the status before going to the airport.

Domestic flights remained canceled.

Nearly 1,500 people were evacuated from villages and towns in mountainous regions in the northern half of Taiwan, where mudslides and flash flooding have caused deadly destruction in the past, the National Fire Administration said.

A 26-year-old woman who went to watch the surf near the east coast city of Hualien was missing and presumed dead after waves washed her away, officials said.

The storm dumped 15 inches of rain in parts of Taipei, the capital.

Last year, typhoon Toraji triggered landslides and floods that killed about 200 people in central and eastern Taiwan.

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