Sea warning issued for nearing Typhoon Goni

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) on Thursday issued a sea warning for Typhoon Goni, cautioning against increasing winds and rough waves in waters off Eastern and Southern Taiwan.

Goni is forecast to turn north on Friday, moving along the eastern coast of Taiwan, with the eye passing closest to the country over the weekend, forecasters said. Taipei is prepared for a strengthening Typhoon Goni as it is set to track closely along Taiwan's eastern coast over the weekend, the Central Weather Bureau said Thursday.

As of 8 p.m., Goni was centred 450 kilometers southeast of Eluanbi, the southernmost tip of Taiwan, moving at a speed of 10 kilometers per hour in a west-northwesterly direction, according to the weather bureau.

With a radius of 200 kilometers, the storm was carrying maximum sustained winds of 184 kph, with gusts of up to 227 kph, the bureau's data showed.

Ships operating in the Bashi Channel and off Eastern Taiwan, including the areas around the outlying Green Island and Orchid Island, should be on high alert, the bureau warned.

Mass Transportation Preparing for Storm

All ground-level metro train services will be suspended if sustained winds reach 90 kph during a period of 10 minutes or if sudden gusts are forecast at some 100 kph, said metro operator Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (TRTC).

The interval between underground metro services could be prolonged under those circumstances, according to the company.

As for the elevated metro service of Wenhu Line, it will be cancelled if sustained winds reach 41 kph and above during a period of 10 minutes or if sudden gusts are forecast at 90 kph, TRTC said.

In addition, preparation work has been carried out at city-run facilities, including the Taipei Children's Amusement Park and the Taipei Arena, government officials said.

Storm tracking plane retreats

Meanwhile, researchers for the Dropwindsonde for Typhoon Surveillance near the Taiwan Region (DOTSTAR) Program were forced to retreat after dropping 11 dropsondes as their Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) jet plane Astra was hit by hail. Researchers in the DOTSTAR Program, known in Chinese as the "Wind Chaser Program", gather information on typhoons by dropping dropsondes from about 13,000 feet at the edge of the storms. Data gathered by the programme help improve the accuracy of the CWB's forecasts on the size, strength, structure and route of storms.

Meteorologist Cheng Ming-dean expressed gratitude for all those who have participated in the DOTSTAR flight on a Facebook post, saying that they had already "accomplished their mission perfectly" by deploying 11 dropsondes.