Tue, Jul 29, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Fung-wong hits the nation, killing two

RED ALERT Hualien County was on alert over 31 rivers, while the death toll reached two: a man in Taitung fell from a roof and a woman in Tainan County fell into a gutter

By Shelley Shan and Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A woman in Kaohsiung City hides behind a car yesterday morning in an attempt to avoid the strong wind after it blew her from her motorcycle as Typhoon Fung-wong swept across the nation.

PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES

Typhoon Fung-wong swept across the nation yesterday, weakening dramatically as it crossed the Central Mountain Range before entering the Taiwan Strait at 2:30pm, but still managing to bring torrential rain to most parts of the nation.

As of 10:30pm, the center of the typhoon was located about 110km south of Matsu. It was moving northwest at a speed of 15kph.

The maximum wind speed detected near the center of the typhoon topped 119kph and the radius of the storm reached 220km.

The Central Weather Bureau predicted that while Taiwan proper will be completely out of the storm’s radius by this morning, Matsu and Kinmen would remain affected by the storm through this afternoon.

The bureau, however, warned residents in central and southern regions about heavy or torrential rain brought by the southwest air stream that would occur following the typhoon’s departure.

Deputy director at the bureau’s Weather Forecast Center Lin Hsiu-wen (林秀雯) said yesterday the force of the typhoon gradually weakened after it made landfall yesterday morning, adding that it would continue to move northwest toward China’s Fujian Province in the next few days.

As of press time, Taipingshan (太平山), Ilan County, topped the accumulated rainfall statistics with 821mm. It was followed by Bruwan (布洛灣), Hualien County, and Shichiusishan (西丘斯山), Hsinchu County, with 758mm and 523mm.

Southern and central regions had begun to see a drastic increase in rainfall, Lin said. In some cities, the level had reached 50mm per hour.

Taipao City (太保), Chiayi County, topped the scale, receiving 87mm of rain in one hour yesterday afternoon, between 3pm and 4pm, while Wuling Township (武陵), Taichung County, had received 441mm, Shangdewen Township (上德文), Pingtung County, saw 336mm and Nantienchi (南天池), Kaohsiung County, had received 318.5mm.

Several hundred coastal residences in Changhua County were hit by a blackout for several hours, Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

The typhoon made landfall between Chinpu (靜浦), Hualien County, and Changbin (長濱), Taitung County, at 6:50am.

The east coast faced the most immediate threat from the typhoon yesterday morning, with damage reported in both Hualien and Taitung counties.

The Central Emergency Operation Center reported that strong winds killed a man in Taitung after he fell while repairing the roof of his warehouse. The man, identified as 68-year-old Lo Tien-guey (羅添貴), was found face down in a paddy field next to the warehouse.

Also, a 58-year-old woman in Tainan County named Chu Hsiu-ying (朱秀英) was killed when she fell from her motorcycle into a gutter.

Meanwhile, the center also reported that 31 rivers in Guangfu (光復) and Hsiulin (秀林), Hualien County, were listed as on red alert for mudslides.

Residents living close to the rivers were forced to evacuate when the rising water was poised to inundate their houses. CNA reported that 462 people in Hualien were either placed in shelters or staying with relatives because of the typhoon.

At press time, six injuries were also reported in Taipei City, Ilan County and Kaohsiung City.

The typhoon also disrupted transportation systems nationwide. Both the Taiwan Railway Administration and Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp announced on Sunday that a majority of trains scheduled to run yesterday would be canceled. Both companies had managed to resume partial operations by last night.

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