The Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan has issued a land warning on Tuesday morning, 13 September, against the fast approaching Super Typhoon Meranti. The land warning comes a day after the authorities issued a sea warning following reports that the storm was expected to pass through the southern part of the country on Wednesday, 14 September and Thursday, 15 September.
The bureau has advised residents in Pingtung and Taitung counties in southern Taiwan and in outlying Orchid and Green Islands to stay alert as the super storm could bring strong wind gusts and heavy rain in the region. The warning also cautioned ships operating in waters southeast and northeast of Taiwan, the Bashi Channel, the Taiwan Strait and waters near the Pratas Islands.
According to the bureau, Meranti was located 540km east-southeast of Eluanbi — the southernmost tip of Taiwan — as of Tuesday morning. The storm is reportedly moving at a speed of 22kmph in a west-northwesterly direction towards Taiwan and was carrying maximum sustained winds of 209kmph, with gusts of up to 263kmph.
Meranti is "the strongest typhoon on earth this year", Wu Der-rong, a meteorologist and adjunct associate professor of atmospheric sciences at Taiwan's National Central University, was quoted as saying by Focus Taiwan. He added, citing data from the US military, that Meranti is stronger than Super Typhoon Nepartak that hit Taiwan in July. However, data from Taiwan and Japan indicate Meranti and Nepartak are similar in intensity.
Meranti is expected to hit mainland China after passing through Taiwan. If the intensity of the storm increases on approaching the mainland it could prove disastrous for the populous country. Nepartak had unleashed its fury on China bringing torrential rains that killed close to 100 people.