Taiwan warned businesses and schools to prepare for extreme conditions as Severe Typhoon Maria closes in on the island, disrupting flights and curtailing futures trading.
The typhoon could bring strong winds and heavy rains to northern and central Taiwan, Central Weather Bureau said in statement on Tuesday. Several local governments in the northern Taiwan including Taipei City, the island’s political and business capital, have announced closures of offices and schools from 4 p.m. Airlines, including Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Air China Ltd. and EVA Airways Corp., have canceled 161 international flights and 117 on domestic routes as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, Taipei-based Civil Aeronautics Administration said by text message.
Taiwan Futures Exchange said there would be no after-hours trading Tuesday.
The weather authority issued a sea warning and a land warning Monday, advising residents to take precautionary measures given risks of floods and landslides. It is currently unclear whether the storm will make direct landfall in Taiwan. The weather bureau forecasts it to be at its closest on Tuesday evening and early Wednesday.
Maria, with sustained winds of up to 191 kilometers per hour (119 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 234 kilometers per hour, was categorized as a typhoon by the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. It was 490 kilometers east of Yilan on Taiwan’s northeast coast as of 10 a.m. on Tuesday local time, the bureau said.
The storm is heading west-northwest with decreasing speed of 28 kilometers per hour and comes amid extreme weather in other parts of Asia. Japan is grappling with the fallout from historic rainfall in the country’s west which killed at least 110 people and pushed more than 23,000 into evacuation centers.
In 2015, Typhoon Dujuan killed two people in Taiwan and left thousands of households without power or water. Schools, offices and the stock exchange were closed as the storm wreaked havoc on the island and crippled its train service.
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