Weakened 'monster' typhoon Soudelor on course to Taiwan

Weakened 'monster' typhoon Soudelor on course to Taiwan
PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) announced yesterday that "monster" typhoon Soudelor has weakened to a moderate typhoon as it continues to track to the west-northwest over the Western Pacific's open waters at a speed of 22 kilometers per hour toward Taiwan.

All related authorities and institutes are still on guard despite the weakening of Soudelor. The Council of Agriculture (COA) has urged fishermen and farmers to be on alert and prepare accordingly.

Meanwhile, some consumers have already hit supermarkets to stock up on food; the COA advises the public not to stock too much food as there will be enough. The council has also suggested that farmers harvest crops, store them well and follow market demand orders.

Soudelor is considered the strongest tropical cyclone globally this year so far, according to foreign media reports. The typhoon slammed into Saipan, an island in the Mariana Islands Archipelago, earlier this week with winds of 170 kilometers per hour and flooded the island's power plant, leaving around 350 local residences in emergency shelters, said a Pacific Daily News report.

The CWB estimates that the typhoon will approach Taiwan and have the greatest impact on Friday and Saturday. The CWB is set to issue a sea warning for Typhoon Soudelor today and possibly a land warning in the evening. For those who already made Father's Day (Aug. 8) plans, be careful to check up on the typhoon's status as well as transportation announcements.

Currently, Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) has announced that operations for "Summer Formosa" cruise-style trains on Aug. 8 are cancelled; passengers who have already purchased tickets can get full refunds at all train stations, said the TRA.

Ferry businesses in Taitung also announced operation suspensions after evaluating weather conditions. Ferries from Taitung Fugang Fishing Harbor to Green Island will operate until noon today, but will be suspended from then until Aug. 9. There is an outbound ferry from Fugang Fishing Harbor to Orchid Island at 5:30 a.m. today and another will depart to return at 7:30 a.m. Outbound ferries to Orchid Island will be suspended as well from Aug 7-9.

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