Typhoon Koinu Strengthens While Moving Toward Taiwan And Is Forecast To Hit Land This Week

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Typhoon Koinu, traveling westward from the Pacific, was strengthening as it moved toward Taiwan, meteorologists on the island said Monday.

The storm was expanding in size and was expected to make landfall by Thursday morning, they said.

Koinu was moving northwest with sustained winds of 144 kph (89 mph) and gusts of up to 180 kph (112 mph), according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau. Forecasters predict the center of the storm will hit the island's southern cities, while bringing heavy rains to the east coast including the city of Taitung.

In the Philippines, which will avoid the typhoon's direct hit, the weather bureau issued storm warnings in at least six northern provinces and warned of possible flooding and landslides especially in mountainous regions. The typhoon will enhance seasonal monsoon rains elsewhere in the country in the next three days, forecasters said.

On Monday, Koinu was blowing 485 kilometers (300 miles) east of Basco town in the northernmost Philippine province of Batanes, in the Luzon Strait that separates the Philippines and Taiwan, according to Manila’s weather bureau.

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.