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Taitung suspends balloon festival due to Typhoon Nepartak
【Society】2016-07-06  17:40:40
Taipei, July 6 (CNA) The Taitung County government said its annual balloon festival will be suspended for two and a half days, starting Wednesday afternoon, due to the approach of Typhoon Nepartak.

All events scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday will be canceled, while the Morning Glow activity that was to be held Saturday in Sansiantai will be postponed to Sunday at 4 a.m., the government of the southeast county said.

The announcement came after the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued a sea warning for Typhoon Nepartak at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, saying that the storm was centered 870 kilometers southeast of eastern Taiwan's Hualien, moving at a speed of 32 kilometers per hour in a west-northwesterly direction.

Nepartak was carrying maximum sustained winds of 198 km per hour with gusts of up to 245 km per hour, according to the CWB, which was expected to issue a land warning at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Taitung's decision to suspend the annual Taiwan International Balloon Festival was also made based on discussions with Dutch pilot Wout Bakker, who is the chief flight commander during the festival, the county government said.

Bakker said the weather in Luye was likely to become too unstable by Wednesday afternoon for the operation of hot air balloons, the county government said.

The balloon festival was scheduled for July 1 to Aug. 7 in Luye Township.

Meanwhile, the organizers of the Yilan International Children's Folklore & Folkgame Festival, which is being held July 2 to Aug. 14 at Dongshan River Water Park, said they will make an announcement on Thursday noon as to whether the park will open Friday.

(By Tyson Lu, Worthy Shen and Evelyn Kao)
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