TAIPEI/MANILA: Taiwan and the Philippines on Friday issued warnings for rapidly-strengthening Typhoon Chanthu, which was on track to deliver heavy rain and winds at the weekend.
The potentially devastating storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 209 kilometres per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 263 kph. It is expected to cause high waves and inundate eastern and southern Taiwan with rain on Saturday, the Central Weather Bureau bureau said
By Sunday, all areas of Taiwan would be experiencing Chanthu's severe weather, the bureau said. The storm's forecast track has it slamming into southern China after crossing Taiwan.
Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang visited lowland coastal Yunlin County on Friday to inspect flood control work, as people prepared themselves for the powerful storm's arrival.
Ferry services operated between the south-eastern city of Taitung and nearby offshore Green Island and Orchid Island were suspended.
Before hitting Taiwan, Chanthu was set in the coming hours to threaten the Philippines, where 14 people were killed just days ago in a another typhoon.
The Philippine weather bureau raised alerts in 10 northern provinces as it warned that Chanthu could intensify in the next 12 hours and bring heavy to intense rains.
"The possibility of landfall over the north-eastern portion of Cagayan is not yet ruled out," it added.
Typhoon Conson had just left the Philippines, leaving 14 dead, the national disaster agency said. The fatalities included five fishermen who sailed out to sea despite typhoon warnings.
Seven people were also missing, while more than 100,000 people were affected in the eastern and central Philippines, the agency added.
The Philippine archipelago is hit by an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year.
The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines was Typhoon Haiyan,which killed more than 6,300 people and displaced more than 4 million in November 2013. -- dpa