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Typhoon slams Taiwan, now heading for Japan

Tue., Oct. 26, 2004

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Typhoon Nock-ten lashed northern Taiwan with powerful winds and driving rain Monday, disrupting international flights and closing financial markets, schools and government offices. Flash floods killed three people, including a TV cameraman and a firefighter.

The typhoon’s eye passed just north of the capital, Taipei, and forecasters said the storm would churn northeast toward Japan, still recovering from another typhoon that killed 83 people last week.

But Nock-ten, which was weakening, could be downgraded to a tropical storm before reaching Japan, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said.

Floodwaters swept away TTV cameraman Ping Chung-cheng in the northern city of Keelung and he later died, station spokeswoman Liu Lee-hui said. Three other reporters were washed away with Ping, but officials rescued them with a rubber dinghy, local media reported.

A man drowned in his flooded home, and a raging river carried away a firefighter, disaster officials said. Both died in Taipei County, which recorded floodwaters of up to two stories high, officials said.

The typhoon forced officials to cancel flights between Taipei and Hong Kong – one of the world’s busiest routes. Taiwan’s two largest carriers, China Airlines and EVA Airways, said planes also stopped flying to Tokyo and Southeast Asia.

Officials shut down financial markets, schools and government offices in Taiwan’s major cities.

High winds tore away shop signs in some cities, where branches, twisted umbrellas and other debris littered the streets. Sheets of rain soaked Taipei, where normally congested streets were eerily empty during morning rush hour.


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