TAIPEI, Taiwan - Four people sustained non-life-threatening injuries as of press time as Typhoon Chan-hom passed Northern Taiwan without causing major damage yesterday.
Three were injured when strong gusts toppled a tree in downtown Taipei. The tree hit a 43-year-old woman while a 55-year-old woman and a 62-year-old man suffered from bee stings when a bee hive fell along with the tree.
Another tree was upended in New Taipei City, hitting a 65-year-old man. All four are in stable condition.
A 51-year-old woman was slightly hurt when a boulder fell and hit her car in the mountainous region of Jianshi Township in Hsinchu County. The government has yet to list the injury as typhoon-related.
The outer rim of the storm briefly touched Bitou Cape in Northern Taiwan around 5pm, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said. As of 5pm, the centre of the typhoon was 330 kilometers northeast of Taipei, moving at a speed of 16 kilometers per hour in a northwesterly direction.
The CWB said that since had Chan-hom veered north from the projected route its impact on Taiwan would be less than expected.
The CWB said it is likely to remove land warnings as soon as midnight today. The weather agency, however, warned people living in mountainous regions north of Taichung to be prepared for torrential rainfall.
The bureau also urged the public to refrain from storm wave watching or engaging in seaside activities. Local media outlets' video footage showed tourists almost swept out to sea by strong waves.
The storm posed a challenge for typhoon strength assessment for local government chiefs in Northern Taiwan, who had to decide whether to suspend work and school.
Taipei City, New Taipei City, Keelung City, Taoyuan City and Lianchiang County announced work and school suspensions yesterday due to the storm.
Yilan County Magistrate Lin Tsung-hsien was widely criticised by netizens early yesterday for going against the grain by not calling for a suspension.
Criticism turned to praise, however, as the relatively low wind speed and rainfall in the county vindicated his decision.
The majority of county heads who had called a typhoon holiday, on the other hand, were left to explain their decisions.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je admitted yesterday that he felt "kind of spooky" when making the decision, worrying that "the day might turn out to be nice and sunny."
The mayor said he chose to believe professional judgment of meteorologists. New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu also stressed that his call was based on professional meteorology information.