Fri, Jul 02, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Typhoon Mindulle might bring heavy rains today

By Chiu Yu-Tzu and Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Typhoon Mindulle yesterday weakened into a severe tropical storm after passing through the Philippines and southern Taiwan. However, residents of eastern and southern Taiwan should still expect heavy rains today, the Central Weather Bureau said.

The typhoon seemed to have had little impact on the nation's air and ground transportation, with only a few domestic and international flights cancelled today.

The storm however has caused a slight rise in vegetable prices, driven by people's anticipation of potential damage to the nation's agriculture.

"With the shield of the central mountain range [vertically across Taiwan], we do not expect much impact on our flights," Eva Air Corp's public relations specialist Eric Lin (林司忠) said at around 6pm yesterday.

The carrier would cancel only three international flights between Kaohsiung and Macau today, while other flights would remain unaffected.

Cathay Pacific Airways said last night that it hadn't seen any obvious impact so far and would keep its flight schedules unchanged today, according to the carrier's corporate communication associate manager Mimi Chen (陳怡瑄).

UNI Airways Corp said flights departing from Taipei may be changed depending on the weather. Other flights on carriers like TransAsia Airways, Mandarin Airlines and Far East Air Transport Corp would run as scheduled.

People living in low-lying parts of the country in particular have to be alert to floods because Mindulle would pass Taiwan at the same time as a high spring tide, forecasters said.

According to Fred Tsai (蔡甫甸), a division chief at the bureau's Weather Forecast Center, Mindulle's slow speed made predictions a challenge.

The typhoon yesterday moved over the coastal areas of eastern Taiwan. A 15m lighthouse in Taitung was almost totally engulfed by waves. Strong winds and heavy rains brought by Mindulle led to an electricity blackout affecting more than 1,000 families.

In Taitung County, schools were forced to close and domestic air and sea traffic were disrupted. In Hualien, a river angler was reported missing.

Paul Chen (陳忠男), secretary general of the semi-official Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co, said the average wholesale price of vegetables rose slightly to NT$16 per kilogram yesterday, according to the company's figures.

People rushed to buy vegetables in anticipation of the typhoon, said Fiona Wang (王彤芳), marketing manager of RT-Mart, which saw sales of vegetables triple in outlets in Taitung.

The Joint College Entrance Examination (JCEE) will be held today as scheduled, the president of the College Entrance Examination Center said yesterday at 10pm.

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