Typhoon batters southern Taiwan with winds, rain

Associated Press
Strong waves batter breakwaters from approaching Typhoon Tembin in the coastal village of Ilan, Taiwan, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012.  More than 1,000 residents were evacuated from mountainous areas of Taiwan as the typhoon approaches the island, threatening to dump rains that could unleash deadly landslides. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A powerful typhoon made landfall in southern Taiwan before dawn Friday, toppling trees and dumping torrential rain that flooded farmlands before roaring out to sea.

No casualties from Typhoon Tembin were immediately reported. Authorities had taken precautions, evacuating more than 3,000 people from mountainous, landslide-prone areas of Taiwan a day ahead of the storm.

The Central Weather Bureau said Tembin landed in coastal Pingtung County at 5 a.m. (2100 GMT), packing winds of 155 kilometers (96 miles) per hour, before blowing out to the Taiwan Strait 2 1/2 hours later.

Mindful of a devastating typhoon three years ago that took 700 lives, Taiwan's military readied thousands of soldiers equipped with rubber boats and amphibious vehicles to help with relief efforts in areas impacted by Tembin's fury.

Authorities also ordered workers home in the eastern city of Hualien, where all flights were canceled. Schools were closed in several areas in the southeast.

Farmers urgently harvested crops ahead of the storm's arrival, and many homes and businesses in eastern Taiwan boarded up their windows. Outdoor events to mark a special Taiwanese Valentine's Day on Thursday were canceled.

Another typhoon may threaten southern Japan over the weekend. Typhoon Bolaven has winds of 144 kph (89 mph) and may intensify, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The current forecast has the typhoon affecting southern islands, including Okinawa, on Sunday.

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