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Taiwan issues warning as much-anticipated tropical storm approaches

TAIPEI, June 4 (Reuters) - Taiwan issued a land warning on Friday for the approach of tropical storm Choi-Wan, which could be the first to hit the island in more than a year, helping alleviate a biting drought.

Subtropical Taiwan is dealing with its worst drought in history after no typhoons directly hit the island last year, meaning much less rain and leading to water restrictions in some places.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said the storm was expected to touch the southern tip of the island on Friday before moving up Taiwan’s east coast, and forecast heavy rain.

The drought has already begun to ease, a relief for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, a major supplier to the likes of Apple Inc and Qualcomm Inc.

Taiwan’s government last week delayed imposing further water curbs, which would have affected major chip-making hubs, after heavy rainfall began replenishing reservoirs, heralding the start of what Taiwan calls the “plum rain” season.

However, the government is still calling on people to conserve water, with some reservoirs remaining perilously low.

The drought has exacerbated problems with electricity management, leading to two major island-wide blackouts in less than a week. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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