Typhoon Mawar lashes eastern Taiwan, northern Philippines as it heads for southern Japan

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Typhoon Mawar lashed Taiwan’s eastern coast with wind, rain and large waves Tuesday but largely skirted the island after giving a glancing blow to the northern Philippines. The storm was moving slowly toward southern Japan.

With waves crashing on the shoreline, residents of the Taiwanese fishing town of Yilan secured boats and homes against the stormy conditions.

“I will not worry. The typhoon won’t make landfall now. The typhoon will move northward from the sea in the east of Taiwan. Its strength has also weakened. And there is no wind and waves in the fishing port at present. I don’t think it will affect us,” said Wang Jian-chi, a fishing boat owner.

The coast guard said precautions were being taken, just in case.

“We have issued a high surf warning. The wind and wave are very strong. We hope that beachgoers won’t come near the beach and embankment at this moment. We will also send coast guard personnel to patrol the port to warn beachgoers,” said coast guard officer Wang Hsing-chieh as he patrolled the port with his team.

Although the slow-moving typhoon has lost some of its ferocity since smashing into Guam last week, forecasters in the Philippines said Mawar remained dangerous with maximum sustained winds of 155kph and gusts of up to 190kph.

People in the Batanes province of the Philippines prepared for bad conditions, but were largely spared.

“I’m on the roof, but I’m not being blown away by the wind,” Juliet Cataluna, a Batanes provincial official in the coastal town of Ivana, told The Associated Press by cellphone. “I wish we’ll really be spared from damages — our livelihood, our agricultural produce and our houses.”

After seeing earlier forecasts that Mawar would be stronger, townspeople in Ivana placed sandbags on their tin roofs and covered glass windows with wooden boards. Cataluna added that she wrapped her avocados with sack cloth so they would not be blown off trees.

Town leaders used motorcycles to deliver constant typhoon updates, she said, and fortunately only light rains and occasional wind gusts have hit Ivana.

The typhoon was offshore about 350 kilometers east of the Batanes capital, Basco, and is projected to shift northeast by Wednesday toward southern Japan. Strong winds were still forecast for Taiwan, and authorities in the Philippines warned against complacency, saying the risks from dangerous tidal surges, flash floods, landslides and typhoon-enhanced monsoon rains remain until Mawar has safely blown away.

More than 3,400 villagers remained in emergency shelters in northern provinces, flights to and from Batanes remained suspended, and classes have not resumed in more than 250 cities and towns in the north, according to the Office of Civil Defense.

Winds lashed nearby Cagayan province Monday, causing an unoccupied wharf warehouse to collapse and prompting more villagers to move to evacuation centers.

Mawar tore through Guam last week as the strongest typhoon to hit the US Pacific territory in over two decades, flipping cars, tearing off roofs and knocking down power.

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