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Storm lashes south Taiwan knocking out power, disrupting flights

[TAIPEI] Record-breaking winds and heavy rains disrupted transport today as Super-Typhoon Meranti cut a path across southern Taiwan and headed toward China.

Toppled trees and storefront signs were strewn about a thoroughfare in Kenting National Park's Hengchun Township, images on Taipei-based Sanlih E-Television showed. Wind speeds of 52.2 metres per second were the fastest since record-keeping began in 1896, according to the Taipei-based Apple Daily. Schools, offices and markets remained open in the capital of Taipei.

The super-typhoon comes just before a four-day weekend in Taiwan beginning Thursday, marking the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday. Most flights in and out of the southern port city of Kaohsiung were cancelled, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

The Taiwan Railways Administration suspended train service for routes in the south and east, while schools and offices in the areas were closed.

Cathay Pacific Ltd cancelled eight flights between Hong Kong and Kaohsiung, according to its website. EVA Airways Corp also cancelled at least eight flights in or out of Kaohsiung.

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Taiwan Power Co, the state-run utility, estimated as many as 78,000 homes lost power as of Wednesday morning.

Meranti's winds gusted as fast as 262 kilometres per hour as of 9am, according to the Central Weather Bureau. The storm was moving northwest at 17 kilometres per hour.


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