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East Asia Braces For Trio of Typhoons - 2002-07-09

Japan, Taiwan and several Pacific island communities are bracing for a trio of tropical storms, as the northern Pacific's typhoon season gets busy. Just last week, much of coastal China was doused with rains from a typhoon.

Asia and the western Pacific islands are taking a beating this week, as tropical storms churn up the seas. Three storms are expected to hit land in the next few days, just a week after an earlier storm soaked China, Taiwan and South Korea.

Airports and businesses will shut down ahead of the storms and many residents of the region are stocking up on bottled water and candles as the storms bear down.

Residents on the U.S. territory of Guam prepared for Tropical Storm Halong on Tuesday, less than a week after Typhoon Chata'an battered the island. Halong is expected to build strength and come very near Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands in the western Pacific Wednesday.

Kelly Fitzpatrick, a Guam resident, said this storm may not cause as much damage as Chata'an did. "We don't think it will be as great and we don't thing the winds will be as strong because it's moving toward us at 27 kilometers per hour," Ms. Fitzpatrick said.

That means Halong will not have the time to build up stronger winds before hitting Guam. Chata'an knocked out water and power to the island's 150,000 residents and most homes are still without utilities.

"We've just finished the tidying up after Typhoon Chata'an. The problem is there is still a lot of debris around that people have not yet managed to secure after the first typhoon," she said.

Chata'an now is heading for Japan and could make landfall near Tokyo Wednesday. Also Tuesday, Tropical Storm Nakri is bringing rain to Taiwan and kicking up winds of 90 kilometers an hour in the Taiwan Strait. The bad weather complicated the rescue of Chinese fishermen from a burning ship Tuesday. Taiwan helicopters and boats plucked more than 100 fishermen off the boat as it burned near the southern port of Kaohsiung.

Last week, another typhoon swept past Taiwan, and its rain eased the worst drought in decades there. The storm then brushed along the coast of mainland China before soaking much of the Korean peninsula.