Taiwan braces for return of Typhoon Tembin

Taiwan warned Sunday that Typhoon Tembin was likely to return as people struggled to clear mud-filled homes after the storm pounded the south of the island with the heaviest rains in more than a century.

The storm appeared to be heading back towards Pingtung county where people were still reeling from the flooding sparked by Tembin when it swept across the southern tip of the island Friday.

Tembin weakened to a tropical storm after moving out to sea the same day but the Central Weather Bureau said it had intensified into a typhoon again Sunday.

"Tembin regained strength and became a typhoon again early this morning. It was moving east-southeasterly," the bureau said.

Although the typhoon was still hundreds of kilometres (miles) from the island, the bureau predicted downpours in the south and southeast and called on people there to take precautions.

On its current track, Tembin was forecast to make landfall again in Pingtung Tuesday morning and move northward off the east coast.

"The clean-up has yet been finished even though we've kept working the past three days. And now I heard the typhoon is coming back," the owner of a shop in Hengchun township, told the Sanli cable news network.

"This typhoon has destroyed much of my hard work over the past 20 years," he said, visibly upset, while other members of the family used mops to remove thick mud from the floor.

The storm's unusual movement was affected by Typhoon Bolaven which struck Japan's Okinawa on Sunday, about 800 kilometres (500 miles) east of Taiwan.

Tembin forced more than 8,000 people to evacuate their homes islandwide when the most torrential rain in more than a century struck Pingtung county.

Weather bureau data indicated Pingtung has received 724 millimetres (29 inches) of rain since Wednesday, while the township of Hengchun saw more than 600 millimetres of rainfall on Friday alone.

The defence ministry mobilised more than 2,000 soldiers to help people in that area clean up their homes.

Damage to the agriculture sector totalled Tw$168 million ($5.6 million), according to the Council of Agriculture Affairs.

As of 0930 GMT, Typhoon Tembin was around 400 kilometres southwest of the main southern city of Kaohsiung.

With a radius of 180 kilometres, the typhoon was packing gusts of up to 126 kilometres per hour and moving east-southeast at five kph.

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