Tropical Storm Fung-Wong to hit nation

Residents swim in a flooded area to get to another street after tropical storm Fung-Wong battered metro Manila on Sept 19, 2014.

TAIPEI - The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued a land warning for approaching Tropical Storm Fung-Wong last night, predicting it would make landfall near the southern tip of Taiwan and move north up the entire length of the island during the weekend.

Fung-Wong was 370 kilometers off Taiwan's southern cape of Eluanbi as of 9 p.m. yesterday, reaching the Bashi Channel and already posing threats to Hengchun Peninsula and other regions in the south.

The CWB warned of heavy rains and strong winds in southern and eastern parts of Taiwan, and strong waves around these areas. The storm packed winds at 90 kilometers per hour, with gusts reaching as high as 119 kilometers an hour, the CWB said.

Fung-Wong was moving north-northwest at 11 kilometers per hour, with its speed expected to increase to 15 kilometers an hour later and its direction turning north-northeast, the CWB said.

The CWB forecast that Fung-Wong should be 80 kilometers southwest of Eluanbi by 8 p.m. today and make landfall later before leaving on Sunday night near the northern coast of Taiwan.

Fung-Wong would be the first tropical storm or typhoon to hit Taiwan this year. It was expected to bring substantial rains, but the CWB has yet to make any rainfall predictions for the approaching storm.

In response to the warning, many fishing boats returned to take shelter in ports around the island.

But most local governments already announced that work and school would remain normal today, as rains and winds are not expected to reach levels mandating closure of schools and offices. A few local governments had yet to make announcements as of press time.