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Taiwan issues sea warning for Tropical Storm Saola (update)

2012/07/30 22:40:27

Taipei, July 30 (CNA) The Central Weather Bureau issued a sea warning Monday night for Tropical Storm Saola, forecasting that the storm could bring heavy rain around Taiwan.

The sea warning was issued at 8:30 p.m. for Saola, the ninth storm formed since the start of the 2012 Pacific typhoon season.

A land warning could be issued Tuesday afternoon at the earliest, said Lin Show-wen, deputy-director of the bureau's weather forecast center.

She said the rainfall is likely to center in northern, northeastern and eastern Taiwan on Monday and Tuesday as the storm is expected to continue in a northeasterly direction.

"It (Saola) will come closer to land on Aug. 1-2, so the rainfall then is expected to increase in northern, northeastern and eastern Taiwan," said Lin.

She added that central and southern Taiwan could also see more rain from Wednesday evening to Thursday.

The storm could also strengthen into a typhoon, said Lin, adding that rainfalls have already reached over 100 millimeters in a mountainous area in northeastern Taiwan's Yilan County.

The path of the storm resembles Typhoon Matsa in 2005, which did not directly hit Taiwan, but brought 800-1,200 millimeters of rain to northern Taiwan's Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, said Lin.

The bureau also warned boats operating on the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines, as well as on the seas to the northeast and southeast of Taiwan to be on alert.

The public should also avoid beach activities during this time, as big waves have been observed in coastal areas in eastern, southeastern and southern Taiwan, said the bureau.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, Saola was centered 410 km east 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 137 kph.

(By Christie Chen)