Taiwan battens down after warning about tropical storm

Taiwan battens down after warning about tropical storm
People holding umbrellas walk in front of a glass wall protected with tape as tropical storm Trami approaches Taiwan, in Taipei August 20, 2013.

TAIPEI - Taiwan evacuated more than 1,000 tourists from an island and deployed troops Tuesday in preparation for the possible arrival of Tropical Storm Trami.

The Central Weather Bureau said the storm, 710 kilometres (440 miles) east-southeast of Taipei at 0600 GMT, could bring heavy rain even if it did not make landfall.

The storm, with gusts up to 126 kilometres per hour, was moving west north-west at a speed of 22 kilometres per hour. Officials at the bureau said the impact may be felt mostly from Wednesday night through Thursday morning.

In reaction to the warning, ferries operating between the southeastern city of Taitung and Green Island evacuated 1,700 tourists.

Television images showed hundreds of fishing boats packing Suao, a fishing port in the northeast county of Ilan which is likely to bear the brunt of the storm.

Nearby, the military deployed 300 soldiers and four amphibious rescue vehicles.

In the capital Taipei, residents of some low-lying areas piled up sandbags.

Last month Typhoon Soulik battered Taiwan with torrential rain and powerful winds, leaving two people dead and at least 100 injured.

Roofs were ripped from homes, debris and fallen trees littered the streets and some areas were submerged by floods.

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