Taiwan Braces for Major Typhoon 'Morakot'

Taiwanese braced for the arrival of a major typhoon Friday as local governments closed businesses and schools and airlines canceled scores of flights.

The center of Typhoon Morakot was about 137 miles southeast of Taiwan's eastern county of Yilan, packing winds of 89 mph and moving west at a speed of 9 mph as of 7:15 a.m. Friday, the Central Weather Bureau said.

If Typhoon Morakot sustains its course, it will make landfall in eastern Taiwan on Friday night, it said.

Schools and businesses throughout the island were closed Friday. Some international flights to and from Japan and Hong Kong were canceled. All domestic flights departing from Taipei were also canceled.

Morakot will be the first typhoon to hit Taiwan this year. Typhoons frequently move in between July and September often causing casualties in mountainous regions that are prone to landslides and flash floods.