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Taiwan orders markets, schools closed as strong typhoon approaches

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YILAN, Taiwan (Reuters) – Taiwan shut down its financial markets and ordered schools closed on Monday as a typhoon approached its northeastern coast, while airlines cancelled more than 150 flights amid warnings of floods and high winds.

Typhoon Mitag, categorised by Taiwan’s weather bureau as at the second-strongest typhoon level, was expected to approach the coast of Yilan county with maximum winds of 162 kmph (100 mph) on Monday night.

It was moving across the ocean in a north-northwesterly direction at 25 kmph (15 mph), weather officials said, and could gain strength as it approaches the island.

The bureau issued wind and rain warnings for greater Taipei, the northern port city of Keelung, and other northern counties. It also put out a warning to seafarers around Taiwan.

About 12,000 soldiers were on standby amid fears of floods and storm surge.

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

More than 150 flights and ferry services were cancelled, while several highways across the island were shut amid fears of landslides and floods. The storm cut power to about 2,700 houses on Monday morning.

After passing over Taiwan, the typhoon was expected to approach China’s eastern city of Shanghai on Tuesday, forecasts showed.

(Reporting By Yimou Lee; Editing by Paul Tait and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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