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More than a dozen injured as powerful midday earthquake rattles Taipei, Taiwan

By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
April 18, 2019, 10:45:52 AM EDT

A strong earthquake shook the city of Taipei around 1 p.m. local time on Thursday, startling residents and halting transportation throughout the region.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake registered magnitude 6.1 and occurred near the coastal city of Hualien, about 160 km (99 miles) away. The China Earthquake Networks Center measured the event at a magnitude of 6.7.

A total of 17 people were injured during the earthquake. That includes two hikers who were hit by falling rocks in the Taroko Gorge national park, according to Aljazeera. Fifteen other people sustained injuries around Taipei, where two buildings had to be evacuated due to structural damage.

Taiwan earthquake April 18

A television falls on the floor after an earthquake in Taipei, Taiwan Thursday, April 18, 2019. A strong earthquake struck Taiwan's east coast Thursday afternoon, rattling buildings across the island. (AP Photo)

Residents reported receiving an alert nearly five seconds before the earthquake struck. Buildings swayed noticeably for about 30 seconds during the quake.

According to Reuters, the city has temporarily suspended all subway services in order to conduct inspections. Taiwan News reported that the main road traversing central Taiwan has been closed due to the threat for landslides.

Children were evacuated from schools, while high-speed rail service between Taipei and Taoyuan had been temporarily suspended.

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Social media users reported a large crack down the middle of the road in front of Taipei 101, a landmark skyscraper in downtown Taipei.

"While dry weather dominated on Thursday, a turn to more wet and unsettled weather can disrupt cleanup operations starting on Friday," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

"Rain and thunderstorms will spread back across Taiwan Friday into Friday night," she said. "The rain can heavy enough to trigger isolated mudslides in the mountains."

"Additional showers and thunderstorms will linger through the weekend."

Download the free AccuWeather app for more details on the weather expected in your community.

Over 100 people were killed in an earthquake on the southern portion of the island in 2016, and a 7.6 magnitude quake killed over 2,000 people in 1999.

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