Typhoon Malakas disrupts travel in Taiwan, bears down on Japan

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Sept. 19 (UPI) — Typhoon Malakas sideswiped Taiwan on Monday, disrupting transportation and causing power failures with high winds and heavy rainfail, as it made its way toward Japan.

Malakas, equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 124 mph, was heading on a northeastward track offshore Taiwan. On the mainland, winds were closer to 62 mph but they were strong enough to damage much of northern Taiwan.

Malakas and another storm last week, Typhoon Meranti, forced the suspension of flights and train services, and, according to the island’s Central News Agency, more than 2,700 people had to be evacuated from their homes. Businesses also closed.

Soil and Water Conservation Bureau issued mudflow alerts and at least 6,600 households were without power.

The Alishan Forest Railway in southern Taiwan was suspended on its main line because of difficulty removing rocks from the mountainous terrain that blocked the tracks during landslides.

Officials estimated that the blockage would not be cleared until Tuesday afternoon and then it needs to be inspected.

In Taipei, rainfail was around 9 inches over the weekend and New Teipei CIty was pounded with 2 inches over three hours Saturday.

Monday night, Typhoon Malakas was located approximately 188 miles south-southwest of Sasebo, Japan and was moving east-northeast at 14 mph, according to Weather Underground. Maximum-sustained winds are 124 mph with gusts to 150 mph, the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.

Malakas was forecast to bring torrential rain and damaging winds to the northern Ryukyu Islands then reach Kyushu on Tuesday, according to Accuweather.

Malakas is expected to weaken quickly as it moves over southern Japan, but heavy rain will be likely across southern and central Japan on Tuesday and Wednesday. Rainfall will average 4-8 inches. Wind gusts over the northern Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu will surpass 120 mph.

The remnants of Typhoon Meranti crossed South Korea as Tongyeong recorded 6 inches of rain on Sunday and then dropped 4 inches on Hiroshima, Japan.

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