Thu, Sep 01, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Typhoon Talim hits with force

CLOSED SHOP All schools and offices will be closed today, except in Kinmen County, where the effects of the typhoon are not expected to be felt in full

BY CHIU YU-TZU AND JIMMY CHUANG  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Premier Frank Hsieh speaks in front of a satellite image of Typhoon Talim during a visit to the Central Weather Bureau yesterday. He urged his fellow Cabinet members to ``remain at their posts and make sure everything is under control.''

PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUI, TAIPEI TIMES

Powerful Typhoon Talim has been battering Taiwan since yesterday afternoon, leaving schools and offices closed in several counties. The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday predicted that abundant rainfall would trigger potentially devastating disasters, such as floods and mudflows, in not only the northern parts of the nation but also the south.

All cities and counties announced last night that there will be no classes nor work today in their respective areas, except Kinmen County, which said schools and offices remain open today.

Beginning yesterday afternoon, huge waves, heavy rains and powerful winds were observed in eastern Taiwan. In Hsinchu County, several roads connecting townships in mountainous areas, including remote Wufeng (五峰) Township, were destroyed due to sudden landslides triggered by heavy rains.

In several areas, schools and offices were ordered to close earlier yesterday.

The CWB expected that Talim's center would pass over Taiwan from the eastern coastline between Ilan and Hualien counties. Forecasters said that Talim, with a radius of 250km, has been formed by solid-structure clouds.

According to Hsieh Ming-chang (謝明昌), a division chief at the CWB's meteorology division, the weather in Taiwan will be significantly affected by the storm system.

"We predict that violent gusts [of wind] could be experienced in the counties of Ilan and Hualien," Hsieh said.

Forecasters said that people in Taiwan and its offshore islands, including Penghu, Green Island, Lanyu and Matsu, had to be on the alert for powerful winds.

Moving

Forecasters said Talim was steadily moving west-northwestward at a speed of 21kph and at 11am today its center is expected to be situated 250km west-northwest of Hsinchu. The bureau predicts that the weather this afternoon might become a bit milder but nationwide heavy rains in the following days remain a threat.

It is expected that rainfall in the mountainous areas in southern counties such as Kaohsiung and Pingtung, will exceed 1,000mm. In the north, accumulative rainfall exceeding 700mm is expected.

Yesterday, the Council of Agriculture (COA) issued mudflow and landslide warnings, listing 610 rivers in danger of flooding. The warning affect residents in 39 townships in eight counties. Officials said that rivers in Ilan, Hualien and Nantou counties could become highly dangerous, urging residents to stay away from them. In addition, COA officials said, a Web site showing the danger of floods and mudflows, www.fema.swcb.gov.tw, offers emergency information about possible evacuations.

Meanwhile, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday cautioned Cabinet members that "previous mistakes are not allowed to be repeated during this typhoon."

"I ask my fellow Cabinet members to remain at their posts and make sure everything is under control," he said.

`Stay alert'

"Everybody should stay alert to avoid repeating the same mistakes," he said, referring to the water shortage in Taoyuan County after Typhoon Matsa devastated Taiwan on Aug. 5.

According to the Cabinet, the water shortage occurred because the Shihmen Reservoir's water was seriously polluted by huge amounts of mud, caused by land erosion in the reservoir's catchment area. As a result, the water becomes muddy after downpours and since the water became too muddy after the devastating typhoon, water treatment plants were unable to provide a constant water supply.

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