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Tropical Storm Saola moving slowly, intensifying

2012/07/30 11:28:23

Taipei, July 30 (CNA) Tropical Storm Saola is slowly moving toward Taiwan’s east coast and intensifying, the Central Weather Bureau said Monday, forecasting that the storm will have its greatest impact on Taiwan on Wednesday and Thursday.

Saola, the ninth storm of the 2012 Pacific typhoon season, has only moved around 280 kilometers over the past 24 hours, at an average speed of a little over 10 km per hour, the bureau said.

The storm’s slow pace has allowed it to absorb more energy and moisture from the ocean, the bureau added.

The current path of the storm means it is likely to approach Taiwan from its eastern coast, before turning north and moving to the northwestern part of the country, the bureau said.

A sea warning may be issued Monday afternoon at the earliest, but no timetable has been set for the issuance of a land warning, it added.

Saola is expected to bring rain to areas around Taiwan between July 30 and Aug.3, with eastern Taiwan likely to receive the most rain July 30-31.

Northern Taiwan is expected to experience intermittent rain over the next two days, while central and southern Taiwan may see thunder showers in the afternoons, the bureau said.

Rain is forecast across Taiwan from Aug. 1-2, with downpours expected to center on parts of central and southern Taiwan after Aug. 3, when the storm will gradually make its exit and bring southwesterly winds to the country.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, Saola was centered 500 km southeast of Taiwan's southernmost tip, moving toward Taiwan in a north-northwesterly direction at a speed of 9 kph.

It was packing sustained winds of 108 kph, with gusts reaching 136 kph.

Seven areas in northern Philippines have issued warnings for the storm as of Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Damrey, the 10th storm of the season, still shows no signs of affecting Taiwan, the bureau said.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, Damrey was centered 2,300 km east-northeast of Taipei, moving in a west-northwesterly direction at a speed of 16 kph. It was packing sustained winds of 72 kph, with gusts reaching 100 kph.

The office for disaster prevention and protection under the Cabinet convened a meeting Sunday evening at the weather bureau to prepare government ministries and agencies for disaster response.

The Cabinet has also given directives for the Ministry of the Interior to prepare local governments for disaster prevention. It called on the public to prepare for the storm and cooperate with evacuation measures.

CNA will provide the latest updates regarding the cancellation or suspension of classes or work due to Saola.

(By Christie Chen)