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Taiwan issues rain and strong wind alerts for Typhoon Koinu that’s approaching the island

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan issued a weather alert on Tuesday as Typhoon Koinu is approaching and may make landfall later this week, bringing gales and downpours to the southeastern parts of the island.

The weather bureau put out a land warning on Tuesday after issuing a sea alert late Monday. Koinu was moving northwest with sustained winds of 162 kph (101 mph) near its center, according to the bureau.

Forecasters expected it to bring strong winds and downpours to southern and eastern parts of Taiwan early Wednesday and potentially make landfall in the southeastern part of the island on Thursday.

Beaches in Kenting National Park, in the southern tip of Taiwan, were closed to the public on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the local authorities in the southeastern Taitung County listed several coastal and mountainous areas as potential hazard zones.

Chinese weather authorities said Tuesday that Koinu may make landfall somewhere along Taiwan’s southern coast or pass the island without making landfall and move westward with reduced intensity from Wednesday evening to Thursday morning.

Authorities in the southeastern Chinese city of Zhangzhou asked fishing boats to return to port by Wednesday evening and suspended ferry services on Thursday and Friday.

In the Philippines, which avoided the typhoon’s direct hit, the weather bureau had issued storm alerts in at least six northern provinces and warned of possible flooding and landslides especially in mountainous regions.

Typhoon Haikui hit Taiwan in early September, the first typhoon to make landfall in years. It uprooted trees and damaged cars, and injured dozens, but did not cause any catastrophic damage.

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