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Saola makes landfall in eastern Taiwan but backs out to sea

2012/08/02 10:56:44

Taipei, Aug. 2 (CNA) Typhoon Saola, which has brought extreme rainfall across Taiwan overnight, made landfall in eastern Taiwan early Thursday but returned back out to sea a short time later, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

As of 9 a.m., the typhoon was centered 40 km northeast of Hualien County in eastern Taiwan, moving at a speed of 12 kph in a northerly direction.

It was packing sustained winds of 119 kph, with gusts reaching 155 kph, the bureau said.

Bureau data shows that Saola has been circling during the past few hours, making landfall in Hualien at 3:20 a.m. but leaving again at 6 a.m.

Saola is likely to maintain its original path and either skirt the island or make landfall again in northeastern Taiwan, according to the forecasters.

The bureau said Saola's landfall caused damage to its structure and made it slightly weaker, but warned that its retreat could allow it to absorb more moisture from the sea and bring even more rain.

Most areas in Taiwan experienced torrential rain overnight. Datong Township in Yilan County was hardest-hit, recording 489 mm of precipitation between midnight and 10 a.m Thursday.

The bureau said more extreme rain is likely throughout the day, and mountainous areas in northern and central Taiwan could see precipitation of up to 700 mm between 2 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Friday.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)