BY CHIU YU-TZU AND JIMMY CHUANG STAFF REPORTERS Thursday, Sep 01, 2005 :: Powerful Typhoon Talim has been battering Taiwan since yesterday afternoon, leaving schools and offices closed in several counties. The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday predicted that abundant rainfall would trigger potentially devastating disasters, such as floods and mudflows, in not only the northern parts of the nation but also the south. All cities and counties announced last night that there will be no classes nor work today in their respective areas, except Kinmen County, which said schools and offices remain open today. Beginning yesterday afternoon, huge waves, heavy rains and powerful winds were observed in eastern Taiwan. In Hsinchu County, several roads connecting townships in mountainous areas, including remote Wufeng Township, were destroyed due to sudden landslides triggered by heavy rains. In several areas, schools and offices were ordered to close earlier yesterday. The CWB expected that Talim's center would pass over Taiwan from the eastern coastline between Ilan and Hualien counties. Forecasters said that Talim, with a radius of 250km, has been formed by solid-structure clouds. According to Hsieh Ming-chang, a division chief at the CWB's meteorology division, the weather in Taiwan will be significantly affected by the storm system. "We predict that violent gusts [of wind] could be experienced in the counties of Ilan and Hualien," Hsieh said. Forecasters said that people in Taiwan and its offshore islands, including Penghu, Green Island, Lanyu and Matsu, had to be on the alert for powerful winds.