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Taiwan battens down for Typhoon Matmo

Published on Jul 22, 2014 1:20 PM

YILAN (AFP) - Typhoon Matmo churned towards Taiwan Tuesday, picking up strength with thousands of tourists evacuated from outlying islands as weather forecasters warned of possible flash floods and landslides.

Matmo, packing gusts of up to 173 kmph, is the first tropical storm to hit the island this year and is expected to make landfall on the northeast coast early Wednesday, the Central Weather Bureau said.

"Over the past three hours its strength has increased and its radius expanded," an official at the bureau said.

"From now on until tomorrow, mountainous areas in the north and east are forecast to receive severe rainfall" of up to one metre, he said.

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