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Taiwan Issues Warning as Super Typhoon Sepat Approaches
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People in eastern China are bracing themselves for super typhoon Sepat which is expected to hit Taiwan on Friday evening, before crossing the Taiwan Strait to Fujian Province on the mainland, according to local meteorological forecasts.

The latest forecast at 2:00 p.m. on Friday indicated that the eye of the typhoon was 290 kilometers southeast of Taiwan, packing winds of up to 184 km per hour, and Sepat was moving northwestward at 20 km per hour toward Taiwan, local media reported.

Winds were reaching force 16, according to the forecast. Winds exceeding force 12 can be described as a strong typhoon.

Sepat showed its power on Friday afternoon as eastern Taiwan saw increasingly strong rain and winds, it said, adding the rain would increase on Friday evening.

The diameter of the typhoon would reach 500 km, covering an area even larger than Taiwan, putting the entire island in great danger, it said.

The local meteorological department issued an alarm on Thursday evening, saying winds would gain strength up to force 17 on Friday and Saturday on the island, and the total rainfall in the eastern mountainous area, the first part of the island affected, would reach 800 to 1,000 mm.

It could land in Fujian on Saturday evening or Sunday morning, bringing strong winds and torrential rains.

Sepat, which formed early on Monday east of Luzon Island in the Philippines, became a super typhoon at around 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Named after a Malaysian freshwater fish, it is the ninth tropical storm to hit the region this year.

South China's Guangdong Province and east China's Zhejiang Province are also closely monitoring the progress of Sepat and recalling vessels to harbor.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2007)

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