Tremendous Storm Chanthu hits land within the Philippines earlier than heading to Taiwan
Chanthu, known as Kiko in the Philippines, was one of the strongest storms that year, with sustained winds of 260 km / h (160 mph) before hitting land – the equivalent of a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane strength at its peak .
The storm is expected to spread to Taiwan later on Saturday, with authorities now extending land and sea warnings to the entire main island after originally only covering southern Pingtung and Taitung County.
According to the Philippine weather bureau PAGASA, Chanthu landed over the Batanes Islands at around 8:30 a.m. local time. A Signal 4 warning was issued for the Batanes area, indicating “very destructive typhoon winds”.
The northeastern part of the Babuyan Islands, also in the far north of the archipelago, was under a Signal 3 warning of “destructive typhoon winds” when it landed before being downgraded to Signal 2.
Torrential rainfalls and a moderate to high risk of a “life-threatening storm surge” of 2 to 3 meters throughout Saturday can also be expected in the affected areas. There is also a risk of flash floods and landslides due to the heavy rainfall.
In the south, the capital metro Manila was warned of increased monsoon rains.
Chanthu is expected to head north towards Taiwan on Saturday as it weakens somewhat. As of 11 a.m. local time, PAGASA said the typhoon had weakened slightly but was still a dangerous system with maximum sustained winds of 205 km / h (127 mph) and gusts of 250 km / h (155 mph). At 2 p.m. PAGASA said the storm had weakened further. Chanthu formed on September 6, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The storm then went through one of the most extreme bouts of rapid intensification ever recorded, with wind speed increasing 80 knots in just 24 hours on September 7th in 24 hours. It is the second storm of the year to reach super typhoon status in April after Surigae.
Taiwan on alert
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau downgraded Chanthu to a medium typhoon on Saturday and said it was losing strength as it went up the Bashi Channel, which separates Taiwan from the Philippines, according to Reuters.
Weather conditions across Taiwan are still expected to worsen on Saturday as the storm approaches the south coast, but the Central Weather Bureau said it was unlikely to hit land directly.
Speaking to Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency on Thursday, Wu Wan-hua, the Central Weather Bureau forecaster, said she was expecting torrential rains in the southern part of the island.
This extreme rainfall could lead to flash floods and mudslides in the Taiwan’s highlands.
Taiwanese airlines canceled their domestic flights on Saturday afternoon, although the impact on international services was limited, according to Reuters.
While Chanthu runs along Taiwan’s east coast, land interaction could weaken the system even further, but it will remain an intense typhoon that hits Taiwan over a 24-hour period.
According to the official forecast, the system will weaken on its way north towards China by early next week. Chanthu could come to a standstill just off the coast of Shanghai by Monday or Tuesday, which would fear heavy rains and floods in this region as well.
Twin storm threatens Vietnam
At the same time, tropical storm Conson is expected to hit land in the South China Sea near Da Nang, Vietnam, overnight from Saturday to Sunday morning local time. Vietnam has 500,000 soldiers ready before arriving.
The storm’s outer bands are bringing thunderstorms and gusty winds to the region as early as Friday, and weather conditions will continue to deteriorate across Vietnam on Saturday as the storm approaches the coast.
Despite being a much weaker storm than super typhoon Chanthu, Conson is still expected to have sustained winds of 75 km / h (45 mph) before landfall this weekend.
The Vietnamese government has also ordered ships to remain in port and prepared evacuation plans, Reuters said, citing state media. Up to 800,000 people in Vietnam’s northern provinces could be affected by the storm’s arrival – the fifth to land in the country this year.
It is forecast that Conson will bring widespread rainfall of 100 to 200 millimeters to the region by Monday, with individual sums of over 250 millimeters being possible. This amount of rain could lead to flash floods and mudslides in mountainous terrain.
Earlier this week, Conson brought heavy rain and gusty winds to the Philippines. The storm crossed the central Philippines from Monday afternoon through Wednesday before surfacing in the South China Sea early Thursday.
CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward, CNN’s Ben Westcott, Haley Brink and Reuters contributed to this article.