Wed, Aug 31, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Storm could leave nation wet, thirsty

LUCKY THIRTEENAs Super Typhoon Talim got ready to slam into Taiwan, the government said that everything was fine, while hinting at water shortage

BY CHIU YU-TZU AND JIMMY CHUANG  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A land warning for Super Typhoon Talim, which has developed into a severe storm, was issued by the Central Weather Bureau last night. Forecasters said that Talim, the 13th typhoon reported in the Pacific this year, is expected to bring heavy rains to the whole country, and reminded people in mountainous areas to take disaster prevention measures as soon as possible.

At 8am yesterday, the bureau issued a sea warning to boats sailing in the waters east and southeast of Taiwan and in the Bashi Channel (巴士海峽), where long waves and gusts were observed. At 5pm yesterday, Talim, whose radius is 250km and is centered in the Pacific Ocean 720km east of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) -- Taiwan's southernmost tip -- is expected to be 180km east of Hualien in eastern Taiwan by 5pm today.

According to Hsieh Ming-chang (謝明昌), a division chief at the bureau's meteorology division, Talim was moving in a west-northwest direction at a speed of 21km per hour.

"We predict that the weather in Taiwan will be significantly affected by the typhoon [today and tomorrow]," Hsieh said.

If Talim continues on its current path, it will land in eastern Taiwan today, sweeping north and moving toward Fujian Province in China. However, due to a high pressure front moving northeast of Taiwan, Talim's route might change. But forecasters said heavy rains nationwide would be inevitable, no matter what route the typhoon took.

Talim could bring abundant rainfall to northern Taiwan, forecasters said. The Taipei City Government yesterday urged residents to relocate cars parked along the banks of the Keelung River (基隆河) immediately, and added that all flood-prevention pumping stations had been thoroughly checked.

Meanwhile, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday hinted that there might be another interruption of water supplies if Talim devastates Taiwan.

"We will be well-prepared for all kinds of situations," the premier said. "However, we will alert the public if there is a need to interrupt regular water supplies."

Hsieh made his remarks yesterday morning, when reporters asked him whether the government could promise constant water supply services and that it carried out all necessary preparations for the typhoon. The premier said that no damage will occur if everybody cooperates.

The premier was surrounded by reporters and was questioned as to whether the drought in Taoyuan after the most recent typhoon would occur again.

According to the Shihmen Reservoir Management Center, a minor flood discharge has been carried out for safety reasons as of yesterday afternoon. The discharge was part of the preparations for the typhoon, because the reservoir is almost full. In the meantime, however, the water in the reservoir has again become muddy, sparking concerns about an interruption of water supplies in Taoyuan County.

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