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Typhoon “Koinu” hits Taiwan with record-breaking winds

typhoon koinu 2340z october 4 2023 himawari-9 f

Typhoon “Koinu” made landfall in Cape Eluanbi, southern Taiwan, on October 4, 2023, breaking wind speed records, downing trees and damaging homes. The typhoon left more than 300 people injured in its wake and one person dead.

Koinu brought record-breaking winds to Taiwan, with wind gusts reaching 343 km/h (213 mph) at 21:53 local time on October 4, 2023, as well as sustained winds that reached 199 km/h (123.5 mph) at 21:40 LT. The wind speeds were measured on Orchid Island, southeast of Taiwan’s main island, by the Central Weather Administration’s Taitung Weather Station. Both values set all-time highs since Taiwan began keeping records of wind speeds in 1897. This was also the 3rd strongest wind gust observation of all time.

The device measuring the wind speeds broke shortly after, said Huang Chia-mei, head of the Central Weather Administration’s Taitung Weather Station.

The typhoon also brought heavy rainfall, particularly affecting the east-coast counties of Taitung and Hualien, as well as the mountainous Pingtung county in the south. By Thursday afternoon (LT), the maximum sustained winds had decreased to 155 km/h (96 mph), with gusts of 191 km/h (119 mph).

One person was killed by flying glass in the central city of Taichung and at least 304 were injured around the island, Taiwan’s fire department said.

typhoon koinu 2230z october 4 2023 himawari-9
Typhoon “Koinu” at 22:30 UTC on October 4, 2023. Credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers
typhoon koinu 2340z october 4 2023 himawari-9
Typhoon “Koinu” at 23:40 UTC on October 4, 2023. Credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers

In preparation for the typhoon, schools and offices were closed across many cities, including Kaohsiung. The capital, Taipei, however, continued to operate as normal and experienced a cessation of rain by Thursday morning (LT).

Transportation across the island was severely impacted, with most domestic and some international flights canceled, according to Taiwan’s transportation ministry. Additionally, ferry services to outlying islands were suspended. Despite the disruptions and injuries, there have been no reported deaths.

Typhoon Koinu marks only the second typhoon to make landfall in Taiwan in the past four years, the last being Typhoon “Haikui” on September 3, 2023 — which also resulted in multiple injuries but no fatalities. Haikui was the first typhoon to make landfall in mainland Taiwan in four years, after Bailu in 2019 (Bailu left one person dead). Haikui is also the first Category 3+ typhoon to hit the island since Typhoon “Megi” in 2016.

typhoon koinu jtwc fcst track 09z october 5 2023

Koinu is expected to weaken before approaching the Guangdong and Fujian provinces in southern China. Preemptive measures have been taken in the city of Guangzhou, including the cancelation of some flights and trains, along with a Level 4 maritime caution alert. In Fujian province, 137 passenger ferry trips have been suspended.

References:

1 Typhoon Koinu injures 190 and brings record-breaking winds to Taiwan – AP – October 5, 2023

Featured image: Typhoon “Koinu” at 23:40 UTC on October 4, 2023. Credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers

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