Sat, Dec 04, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Weather bureau issues storm warning

RAINFALL EXPECTED As the freak winter typhoon began beating the country with wind and rain, the Central Weather Bureau issued a land warning

By Wang Hsiao-wen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Campaign flags for the legislative elections at a traffic island in Ilan lay strewn about in tatters, decimated by the powerful winds brought by Typhoon Nanmadol yesterday.

PHOTO: YANG YI-MIN, TAIPEI TIMES

Although the approaching winter typhoon Nanmadol is weakening into a milder storm, the Central Weather Bureau still issued a land warning yesterday afternoon and urged people to brace for sudden downpours and lashing winds in northern and eastern parts of the country.

"The typhoon itself may slacken, yet what we really worry about is the heavy rain it incurs. With the cool monsoons blowing form the northeast and the tropical storm pressing from the south, Taiwan will be drenched in torrential rains over the weekend," said Daniel Wu (吳德榮), deputy director of the bureau's Weather Broadcast Center.

Eastern Taiwan and Hengchun Peninsula bore the brunt of the storm, with rainfall expected to hit 350mm in Ilan and Hualien's mountains in 24 hours. Northern and southern parts will also see rainfall of 200mm as the typhoon nears. Wu cautioned that residents in mountainous areas should be wary of possible landslides and mudflows.

As of 5pm yesterday, Puluowan in Hualien had seen 461mm rainfall and Taiping Mountain in Ilan also received 240mm of rain.

Nanmadol, the 27th typhoon reported in the Pacific this year, would be the first-ever to batter the country in December in recorded history, should make landfall today.

The latest storm, which sliced through the northern Philippines Friday, is lurching toward Taiwan with sustained winds of up to 176kph and gusts of up to 224kph. By 6pm yesterday, the storm's center was about 360km southwest of Oluanpi, Taiwan's southernmost tip, and is plowing northeast at a speed ranging from 19kph to 30kph, the bureau said.

The bureau forecast that the typhoon's influence would peak today. After it passes the country yesterday, temperatures in some areas could drop to as low as 12?C, the bureau said.

Meanwhile, due to heavy rains and strong winds, all flights to and from Hengchun Airport in southern Taiwan were canceled yesterday. The Taitung Airport also had many flights delayed. Civil aviation authorities there have given no timetable on when flights will resume.

The Taitung County Government also closed schools and public offices on the outlying island of Lanyu yesterday.

To slow rising water levels, both the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) in Taoyuan County and the Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) in Taipei County started to release floodwater yesterday afternoon.

The Yuanshantsi Water Diversion Tunnel was also activated yesterday to channel water from the Keelung River.

The Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 2,400 tonnes vegetables have been in cold storage to meet the demand.

"Vegetables are plentiful in wintertime. People do not need to rush to the market to buy fresh vegetables nor will vegetable prices soar," said a COA technician Chao Yang-tung (趙揚桐). If local markets run short of supplies, the COA will deliver 200 tonnes nationwide daily.

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