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Typhoon Matmo makes landfall in Taiwan

Typhoon Matmo from the Suomi NPP satellite. The dark orange is areas of deep thunderstorm activity. (NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory)

Typhoon Matmo is making landfall in Taiwan on Tuesday, with sustained winds of 98 mph and gusts up to 121 mph. The category two typhoon is the first to make landfall in Taiwan in 2014. Matmo is coming ashore with strong winds, 30 foot waves, and strong thunderstorms.

Bloomberg reports that Tapei, along with other Taiwan cities, have closed schools and businesses in anticipation of Matmo’s impacts. According to the news channel Focus Taiwan, several festivals and national parks have also been closed, though high-speed rail service remains open through at least Tuesday.

Radar: Typhoon Matmo approaches Taiwan

The island of Lanyu, which is positioned close to the eye in the southern half of the storm, has recorded 132 mph wind gusts, with sustained winds of 74 mph. 11.7 inches of rain has also fallen so far on the island. Tapei has recorded a 47 mph wind gust on Tuesday, and a personal weather station in Yilan has recorded 2.73 inches of rain so far. Taiwan is a mountainous region — its peak elevation is 13,000 feet — and landslides are a concern as heavy rain bands come ashore.

After Taiwan, Matmo is expected to continue northwest toward China. Interaction with the terrain of Taiwan will weaken the typhoon, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expects winds to decrease to 80 mph — a category 1 on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale. With only a brief jaunt over the warm waters of the Taiwan Strait, no significant strengthening is expected before the typhoon makes a second landfall in mainland China.

The storm comes a week after Typhoon Rammasun made landfall in southeast China, killing over 100 people. According to the China Meteorological Administration, Rammasun was the strongest typhoon to make landfall in China since 1973.