Tropical Storm "Bailu" makes landfall over southern Taiwan

Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm "Bailu" made landfall over southern Taiwan early morning (UTC) August 24, 2019, bringing significant rainfall to most of the country, in places extremely heavy, and 108 km/h (67 mph) winds with gusts up to 137 km/h (85 mph).

Bailu made landfall in Pingtung County at 05:00 UTC (13:00 LT), disrupting air, road and sea traffic. As of 10:00 LT, 350 domestic and international flights were canceled and another 40 delayed, the Ministry of Transport and Communications said.

Severe Tropical Storm "Bailu" at 08:10 UTC on August 24, 2019. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8

According to Focus Taiwan, there were also 220 ferry services suspended, southbound express train services limited and numerous roads closed.

73 210 homes lost power, with some 10 000 still without electricity at 18:40 LT.

Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) said Bailu has caused severe mudslides in several mountainous areas. At 13:00 LT, two villages in Taitung County's Yenping Township were placed under red alert for mudslides, forcing authorities to evacuate residents living close to rivers.

CEOC said there have been no reported casualties, but there were incidents requiring rescue operations.

Ahead of the storm, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) warned residents of Taitung and Hualien counties they are likely to experience extremely torrential rainfall (more than 500 mm / 19.7 inches over 24 hours).

From 00:00 to 19:00 LT on August 24, 520 mm (20.47 inches) of rain were recorded in Liushidanshan, Fuli, Hualien, 480.5 mm (18.91 inches) in Funan, Fuli, Hualien, 437.5 mm (17.22 inches) in Xidawushan, Taiwu, Pingtung and 435 mm (17.12 inches) in Shangli, Taitung.

The storm continues moving toward eastern China. Landfall is expected over the next 12 - 24 hours between Shantou and Xiamen. 

Featured image: Severe Tropical Storm "Bailu" at 08:10 UTC on August 24, 2019. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8

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