Aug 20, 2023

Saola Strengthens to Super Typhoon Before Turning Toward Taiwan

Aug 27, 2023

Ian Sayson, Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Typhoon Saola intensified into a super typhoon northeast of the Philippines and will likely remain in that category until landfall in Taiwan, the Philippine national weather bureau said.

Saola isn’t expected to make a Philippine landfall, but is forecast to veer to the northwest and hit the southern Taiwan coastline on Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning, the bureau known as Pagasa said in a Sunday evening advisory.

The Philippine provinces of Isabela and eastern parts of Cagayan and Quirino face possible flooding or landslides due to heavy rainfall and “moderate to significant threat to lives and properties due to strong winds,” Pagasa forecast earlier Sunday. Sea voyages in northern parts of Quezon province have been temporarily suspended, the coast guard said.

Saola is affecting parts of the main island of Luzon with a level 3 tropical cyclone warning in the eastern end of Isabela and northern parts of Aurora provinces, indicating winds that can cause “heavy damage to high-risk structures” may be expected within 18 hours, the bureau said.

More than 380 people were evacuated due to floods in four towns in Cagayan, Agence France Press reported, citing a rescue official in the province which is experiencing wide spread power interruptions. In Isabela and Ilocos Sur provinces, about 800 people in coastal towns were evacuated due to flooding, it said, citing provincial rescue officers.

Cagayan and Isabela were among the areas hit by super typhoon Doksuri in July. Half a million people were affected and 14 died. The storm destroyed more than 1.3 billion pesos ($23 million) of agricultural crops and caused about 2.66 billion pesos of damage to infrastructure.

Saola is moving south southeastward slowly with maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour (115 miles per hour) near the center and gusts of up to 230 kilometers per hour, Pagasa said. The eye is 95 kilometers off Casiguran town in Aurora, a province east of Luzon.

It’s expected to track eastward over the Philippine Sea east of Aurora area in the next 12 hours and turn northeastward and northward on Monday before shifting northwestward to Taiwan on Tuesday.

“Taiwan’s rugged terrain will weaken the super typhoon,” reducing its intensity to a “severe tropical storm or a minimal typhoon” before emerging over the Taiwan Strait, Pagasa said.

The Philippines has an average of 20 tropical cyclones a year, making it one of the world’s worst-hit countries, according to Pagasa. Saola is the seventh tropical cyclone to reach the country so far this year.

Saola has enhanced the Southwest Monsoon that will bring occasional or monsoon rains to other parts of the country over the next three days, Pagasa said.

(Updates with Saola’s movement throughout. An earlier version corrected a currency conversion.)

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