Monday, August 27, 2012

Typhoon Tembin seen looping back on Taiwan

TOKYO (AP) ? Typhoon Tembin, which drenched southern Taiwan last week before going out to sea, appeared to be looping back Monday for another run at the island.

The revisit comes after another storm about 1,200 miles (750 miles) to the northeast, Typhoon Bolaven, lashed the Japanese island of Okinawa on Sunday night. It injured five people and left 66,500 households without power as of Monday afternoon, but did less damage than feared before moving north into the East China Sea.

Bolaven could affect coastal areas of South Korea by Tuesday, weather officials said.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau predicts that Tembin will make landfall early Tuesday in the same part of southern Taiwan where it dumped more than 500 millimeters (20 inches) of rain three days ago.

Tembin, packing winds of 119 kph (75 mph), would likely skirt the eastern Taiwanese coast before moving northward toward the Chinese mainland, the bureau said.

Disaster officials in Okinawa were relieved that Bolaven, which was billed to be the strongest storm to hit the southern Japanese islands in several years, ended up being weaker than expected.

Okinawa authorities reported no major damage Monday aside from the blackouts. Officials in the nearby Amami islands said they had reports that some houses were damaged, but information was still being collected.

Many schools and government offices were closed because of the blackouts.

Buses were not running Monday, but Naha Airport, serving Okinawa's capital, began functioning again, with 89 domestic flights operating and about 30 cancelled.

It wasn't immediately clear if ferry service had restarted amid still rough seas.

As Bolvaen, the 15th storm of the season, approached Okinawa on Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said wind speeds near the center of the typhoon were about 180 kph (112 mph), with gusts reaching 252 kph (155 mph), possibly equaling or surpassing past records for the area.

But public broadcaster NHK reported that the gusts measured on Amami island north of Okinawa, reached just 140 kph (87 mph).

Okinawa disaster authorities said five people were hurt, including one 75-year-old woman who broke her hip when winds knocked her over.

As of Monday afternoon, 56,700 households were without electricity on Amami island, while 9,800 households on Okinawa were still lacking power.


Associated Press writer Peter Enav contributed from Taipei, Taiwan.


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