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Strong thunderstorms intensified as it headed towards Taiwan

By The Associated Press

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s weather bureau warned of strong winds and heavy rain as Typhoon Chanthu moved toward the island on Saturday and said the center of the storm was likely to pass through its east coast instead of hitting land.

Chanthu passed through Philippine waters with sustained winds of 215 kph (135 mph) and gusts of 265 kph (165 mph), the bureau said late Friday night near the southern part of Taiwan. issued a thunderstorm warning.

Forecasters expect Chanthu to pass through Taiwan’s east coast on Sunday, but the outer edge of the storm could bring rain to the island, Taiwan and Philippine weather agencies said.

On Friday, Philippine officials issued a hurricane warning for the provinces of Cagayan and Ilocos Norte on the northern island of Luzon and for the less-inhabited islands off the northern coast of Luzon. There were no immediate reports of flooding or damage.

Chanthu’s wind speeds put it on the verge of becoming a “super typhoon”, with winds of at least 220 kilometers per hour (137 mph).

The bureau said high waves were expected off the southern coast of Taiwan and in the Bashi Channel between its southern tip and the northernmost island of the Philippines.

A minor storm hit the eastern Philippines on Tuesday, causing power outages in several provinces and weakening into a severe tropical storm as it moved west-northwest over the Sibuyan Sea.

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