Tropical Storm Mekkhala forecast to gain strength
Taipei, Aug. 10 (CNA) Tropical Storm Mekkhala has intensified since forming on Monday morning and will continue to gain strength as it passes through the Taiwan Strait in the evening and on Tuesday, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
As of 9 p.m., the storm had entered the Taiwan Strait and was located 210 kilometers south-southwest of Penghu, the CWB said.
It was heading north toward Fujian province in China at a speed of 27 km per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 83 kph and with gusts of up to 108 kph, the CWB said.
The Taiwan-held island counties of Kinmen and Penghu, where the storm is forecast to pass over directly, are the only administrative districts in the country that have announced a suspension of class and work.
The school and office shutdowns will be in force throughout Tuesday in Kinmen, and from Monday evening to around noon Tuesday in Penghu.
The CWB has issued land and sea warnings for the two counties, as well as heavy rain alerts, which warn of accumulated rainfall of 80 millimeters or more over a 24-hour period.
Heavy rain alerts have also been issued for Chiayi, Tainan, and Kaohsiung cities, Yunlin and Chiayi counties, and Orchid Island and Green Island off Taiwan's southeastern coast. The CWB has also issued extremely heavy rain advisories for the counties of Pingtung and Taitung, warning of 200 millimeters or more of rainfall over a 24-hour period or more than 100mm in three hours.
In terms of air travel, Mandarin Airlines and UNI Airways, subsidiaries of China Airlines and EVA Airways, respectively, announced on Monday that some of their domestic flights would be canceled on Tuesday.
All flights before 9 a.m. between Taiwan proper and Penghu would be canceled, as well as flights before 12:30 p.m. between Taiwan proper and Kinmen.
Meanwhile, the Marine and Port Bureau said a total of 14 scheduled ferries on four routes were expected to be canceled Tuesday because of the storm.
The bureau said journeys between southern Pingtung to Orchid Island and Xiaoliuqiu Island will be partially affected, while trips between Keelung in northern Taiwan and the Matsu Islands, and between Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan and the Penghu Islands have all been canceled.
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