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Taiwan issues weather alert as 'Koinu' nears

TAIPEI, October 4 ------ Taiwan issued a weather alert as Typhoon "Koinu" approaches and threatens to make landfall later this week, bringing gales and downpours to the southeastern parts of the East Asian island.

Taipei's weather bureau put out a land warning on Tuesday after issuing a sea alert on Monday night. Koinu was moving northwest with sustained winds of 162 kilometers per hour (101 miles per hour) near its center. Forecasters expected it to bring strong winds and rains to southern and eastern Taiwan on Wednesday morning and potentially make landfall in the southeastern part of the island the next day. Beaches in Kenting National Park, on Taiwan's southern tip, were closed on Tuesday. Meanwhile, authorities in southeastern Taitung County listed several coastal and mountainous areas as potential hazard zones.

Chinese weather authorities said on Tuesday that Koinu might make landfall somewhere along Taiwan's southern coast or pass the island without making landfall and move westward with reduced intensity from Wednesday evening to Thursday morning. Authorities in the southeastern Chinese city of Zhangzhou asked fishing boats to return to port by Wednesday evening and suspended ferry services on Thursday and Friday.

An earlier typhoon, "Haikui," hit Taiwan early last month, uprooting trees and damaging cars, as well as injuring dozens of people.



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