TAIPEI, Taiwan — Typhoon Koinu swept southern Taiwan on Thursday, injuring 190 people but causing no deaths as it brought pounding rain and record-breaking winds to the island, leading to school and office closures.
Koinu, which means “puppy” in Japanese, made landfall early Thursday in Cape Eluanbi, the southernmost tip of Taiwan, and is expected to weaken as it moves west toward Guangdong and Fujian provinces in southern China.
The typhoon brought the fastest wind ever recorded in Taiwan as it approached on Wednesday night. A weather monitoring station on the outlying Orchid Island, southeast of the main island, measured a gust of 212.9 miles per hour at 9:53 p.m. (9:53 a.m. ET), as well as sustained winds that reached 123.5 mph at 9:40 p.m.
Both values set all-time highs since Taiwan began keeping records of wind speeds in 1897, said Huang Chia-mei, head of the Central Weather Administration’s Taitung Weather Station, according to the official Central News Agency.
The device measuring the wind speeds broke shortly after, Huang said.
On Thursday afternoon, Koinu’s maximum sustained winds measured 96 mph with gusts of 119 mph.
Power lines downed by the high winds from Typhoon Koinu in Taiwan’s southern Pingtung county on Thursday.Sean Chang / AFP – Getty Images
The heaviest rain fell in the east-coast counties of Taitung and Hualien, and in the mountainous Pingtung county in the south.
Cities across the island canceled work and classes, including the major southern port city of Kaohsiung. The capital, Taipei, was operating as normal and the rain had stopped as of Thursday morning.
Taiwan’s fire department reported 190 injuries, most of them in cities along the west coast, including Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.
Most domestic flights and dozens of international flights were canceled, according to the transportation ministry, while ferries to outlying islands were also suspended.
Despite weakening, Typhoon Koinu is expected to douse coastal areas of southern China over the weekend. The city of Guangzhou canceled some flights and trains starting Friday, while its maritime authorities issued a Level 4 alert — the least severe in a four-tier system, calling for caution.
In Fujian province, bordering the Taiwan Strait, authorities suspended 137 passenger ferry trips.
Taiwan sits in an active region for tropical cyclones, but Koinu is only the second typhoon to make landfall in four years. Typhoon Haikui hit the island in early September, injuring dozens.
The Associated Press