Typhoon Maria barrels into China after pounding Taiwan

Taiwan spared as Typhoon Maria weakens

Typhoon Maria barrels into China after pounding Taiwan

Taiwan braced for Typhoon Maria on Tuesday, prompting school closures and the cancellations of hundreds of flights amid warnings of landslides and floods on the island.

Torrential rain hit parts of Taiwan on Tuesday night even as the island nation escaped the impact of Typhoon Maria that officials were expecting, AFP reported.

According to ChannelNewsAsia.com, some 3,500 people across the island were evacuated from areas prone to floods and landslides, with about 2,000 soldiers mobilized to help. More than 6,800 people are on standby for rescue missions or to fix damage.

Gale forecast: From July 11 to 12, the oceanfront to the east of Taiwan, most portions of East China Sea, Taiwan Strait, coastal areas of Fujian, sea areas of Taiwan, Zhejiang coastal regions and the Yangtze River estuary area will be stricken by scale 7-10 gale. More than 200 trains to or from Fujian have been stopped.

Coastal areas were evacuated and roughly 600 boats returned to harbour.

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As Typhoon Maria continues to move inland it has steadily weakened and has now become a tropical storm.

At one point a super typhoon, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau has downgraded Maria to a medium-strength storm with wind gusts of up to 209 km per hour (129 mph). People were told to avoid the coast where waves as high as 9 meters were recorded.

Television images showed trees felled overnight and blocking some roads in the mountains north of capital Taipei. Seventy-six domestic flights and 145 global flights were cancelled on Tuesday.

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific said it has cancelled over a dozen flights between Hong Kong and Taipei, as well as from Hong Kong to Okinawa on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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