TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Tropical Storm Linfa, the first to affect Taiwan this year, grazed Kinmen and Penghu yesterday, severely disrupting air and sea transport to and from the outlying islands as well as causing power outages in both counties. Last evening, despite weakening, Linfa remained a tropical storm. At press time, a land warning was still in effect for Kinmen and Matsu, as well as sea warnings for waters in those areas. The Central Weather Bureau was slated to lift the land warning at 11:30 p.m.
Kinmen, Lienchiang, and Penghu Counties all announced that workplaces and schools would reopen today. Lienchiang County is made up of the Matsu islands.
Earlier yesterday, Kinmen and Penghu suspended classes and closed workplaces, and four people were injured in typhoon-related incidents. While the storm missed Taiwan proper, the CWB said that heavy rains may hit the central and southern parts of Taiwan in the coming days, warning residents to be prepared.
As of 8 p.m. last night, the eye of the storm was located ten kilometers east-northeast of Kinmen, unleashing winds of up to twenty meters per second near its center. The typhoon is forecast to move in a north-northeasterly direction and gradually weaken into a tropical depression by Tuesday. The CWB was scheduled to lift its land warnings for Tropical Storm Linfa at 11:30 pm yesterday evening.
Penghu Hit By Storm
Ferry and air service to and from Penghu came to a virtual halt yesterday, with service suspended due to Tropical Storm Linfa. Over a hundred flights were cancelled because of the tropical storm except TransAsia Airways flight 501 from Taipei to Magong, and TransAsia Airways flight 500 from Magong to Taipei.
All sea cargo services to and from Penghu were cancelled. Taiwan Line ferry services between Magong and Kaohsiung, as well as other ferry services between Magong and Budai harbor in Chiayi were also suspended. Large numbers of fishing vessels poured into Magong harbor to seek refuge from the typhoon, with the number of fishing boats moored at Magong harbor double the usual number.
Power lines were damaged in Wangan township, causing 403 households to lose electricity in the county. Residents also reported falling signboards and trees caused by the heavy winds.
Two Taoist priests presiding over funeral at Shiyu township were injured when the walls of the building collapsed under severe wind gusts. Both priests were taken to the Tri-Service General Hospital for treatment.
Kinmen Air, Sea Service Halted, Mini Three-Links Disrupted All air services to and from Kinmen were cancelled yesterday with the exception of one round-trip Uni Air service to and from Taichung. Mainland China ferry services to and from Jinxia and Jinquan were cancelled yesterday for two days. Ferry services between Greater and Lesser Kinmen were also suspended beginning from 9:00 am yesterday, while bus services in Greater Kinmen were suspended from 1:00 pm. As of 5:30 pm, the Kinmen County government received over fifty reports of fallen trees, six reports of collapsed billboards, and two reports of collapsed roofs, although no one was injured in any of the incidents.
Nine residents living in Wuqiu Township were asked to leave their homes temporarily to stay in the township's culture and recreation center due to safety concerns.
Falling trees wreaked havoc on electricity lines, causing 2,834 households to lose electricity in the county. The Taiwan Power Company reported power supply to 2,039 of those households has already been restored, and said it was working to restore electricity to the remaining households.
Rains in eastern, southern Taiwan
200 to 300 millimeters of rain were recorded by the CWB in eastern Taiwan, while between 300 to 450 millimeters of rain were recorded in areas of Kaohsiung and Pingtung County. Waves over a meter high were seen of Hengchun peninsula in southern Taiwan. Residents there were warned to refrain from activities near seaside locations.
Due to the weakening force of the storm, the CWB said yesterday that it may cancel its land and sea warnings for Tropical Storm Linfa as early as yesterday evening. It also warned that although the chances of heavy rains hitting southern Taiwan are not high, residents there should be prepared.
--The China Post/Asia News Network