Taiwan cancels flights, closes schools as typhoon nears

TAIWAN : Typhoon MItag was heading towards Taiwan on Monday, with the authorities expecting it to hit northern and north-eastern part of the island in the evening and early Tuesday.

Officials canceled over 160 flights, closed schools and shut down financial markets ahead of the powerful storm. Several highways were shut down for fear of floods and landslides and railway links were also set to be cut in the afternoon.

“The national army and authorities are on all out alert,” President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on Facebook. “Friends in the affected areas please make preparations for the typhoon and stay indoor as much as possible,” she added.

Authorities also put about 12,000 soldiers on standby.

Mitag was packing sustained winds of 126 kilometers (78 miles) per hour, with gusts reaching 162 kilometers per hour, Taiwan’s weather bureau said. The storm was located some 300 kilometers southeast of the island early on Monday, and heading towards it at the speed of 25 kilometers per hour.

After hitting Taiwan, the storm is expected to approach China’s eastern city of Shanghai.