Tue, Apr 22, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan wary of Typhoon Kujira's approach

HIGH WINDS Although the approaching storm has changed its course and slowed down, the Central Weather Bureau has issued sea and land warnings

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

The Central Weather Bureau issued a sea warning for Typhoon Kujira yesterday morning and a land warning for southern and central Taiwan at 8:30pm last night as the bureau was closely monitoring the typhoon that could hit Taiwan this week.

Kujira, expected to be the first typhoon to hit the island in April in 25 years, raised concerns among the public yesterday that torrential rains to be triggered by the typhoon could cause problems over the next few days.

"Residents in northern and eastern Taiwan should be alert to the possibility of torrential rains brought by the approaching typhoon," said Lin Ding-yi (林定宜), a meteorologist at the bureau.

Lin said the exact time that Typhoon Kujira will reach the island was hard to predict because the typhoon continued to decrease its speed from a 13km per hour as of 8am to 10km yesterday afternoon.

"Further decrease is possible," the meteorologist said.

The CWB delayed issuing a land warning for Kujira yesterday afternoon due to the the typhoon's slow progress.

As of 7pm yesterday, Kujira, expected to be the third "April typhoon" to hit Taiwan since 1958, was located 480km southeast of Taiwan, moving in a northwesterly direction toward the island at a speed of 10km per hour with a radius of 250km and maximum sustained winds of 155kph with gusts of up to 180kph.

Meteorologists have predicted that Kujira will bring abundant rainfall to the mountain regions of the north and the whole eastern part of Taiwan.

Torrential rains in these areas will increase as the typhoon approaches the island, Lin said. Residents of these areas should be cautious for possible mudflows and landslides following the rains, he said.

The bureau also suggested that the crews of boats plying the waters off these areas should be aware of the possibility of strong winds brought by Kujira.

The National Fire Administration under the Ministry of the Interior set up a contingency disaster prevention and relief center to prepare for dealing with typhoon-related problems yesterday morning.

The Taiwan Power Company, the nation's main power supplier, gave a reminder to metropolitan residents yesterday afternoon for preparatory protection of their power distribution unit usually placed in the basement of buildings in case the typhoon causes a flood in metropolitan areas and damages the distribution unit.

The meteorologists said the most ideal scenario would be that the typhoon decreased in intensity while bringing enough rainfall to raise the levels of the nation's reservoirs.

Kujira, which formed near Guam two weeks ago, had been listed as a strong typhoon before its strength decreased on its way toward the Philippines.

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