Tue, Aug 30, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Typhoon Nanmadol leaves one dead

WILD WEATHER:Although the typhoon was reduced to a tropical storm by 8am yesterday, heavy rain caused landslides and trapped about 300 people in Wutai Village

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

A motorcyclist yesterday stops along the coast of Greater Kaohsiung to admire the waves caused by Typhoon Nanmadol, which was downgraded to a tropical storm shortly after it made landfall yesterday morning.

Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times

Torrential rain brought by Typhoon Nanmadol caused severe flooding in Pingtung County yesterday, damaging more than 600 houses in Hengchun Township (恆春) and claiming one life before heading for China.

Aside from Hengchun, flooding was also reported in Pingtung’s Linbian (林邊), Donggang (東港), Jiadong (佳冬) and Wanluan (萬巒) townships. Two houses in Manjhou Township (滿州) were damaged by a mudslide, although no casualties were reported. The county was also forced to shut down eight bridges because of rising river levels.

A 36-year-old man in Jhongli (中壢), Taoyuan County, was killed by flying glass while he was riding his scooter after a window was blown out by a strong gust of wind.

More than 300 people were trapped by landslides in Wutai Village (霧台), Pingtung County, the Central Emergency Operation Center said, adding that all villagers were safe.

More than 50,000 troops were deployed yesterday to evacuate residents in dangerous areas.

The Soil and Water Conservation Bureau said that by 7pm, 442 mudslide-prone rivers in eastern and southern regions, as well as on the Hengchun Peninsula, were on yellow alert, while 12 in Pingtung County were on red alert.

The Council of Agriculture (COA) said local governments in those areas should warn residents of the risks and advise them on an evacuation plan.

Air traffic was disrupted by the storm, with about 200 domestic and international flights canceled or delayed because of weather.

The Central Weather Bureau said the typhoon made landfall at 4:20am yesterday at Dawu (大武), Taitung County.

The typhoon had been reduced to a tropical storm by 8am as its structure was damaged after it made landfall. It then moved through Tainan to the Taiwan Strait at about 1pm.

Bureau forecaster Chen Yi--liang (陳怡良) said the storm was expected to move slowly westward toward China and would lose strength along the way.

However, the storm could also linger in the Taiwan Strait for some time, he said.

The bureau could lift the land warning for Taiwan proper this afternoon if the storm maintains its current course and weakens at a pace faster than expected.

While the bureau had lowered the rainfall estimates for eastern and northeastern regions as the typhoon moved westward, Chen said it continued to issue torrential rain alerts for residents in southeastern regions, the Hengchun Peninsula as well as in mountainous areas in the south.

The 10 locations that had -registered the highest accumulated -rainfall were all in Pingtung County, the bureau said.

As of 5:30pm, the center of Nanmadol was located 30km off the southeast coast of Penghu. It was moving northwest at 7kph.

As wind and rain eased in northern and eastern Taiwan, the -Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) reopened the Suhwa Highway at 7am yesterday, which had been closed since 6pm on Sunday.

The South Link Highway became accessible again at 5:30pm.

The section between Dayuling (大禹嶺) and Taroko on the Central Cross-Island Highway was also reopened at 2pm.

The Taiwan Railway Administration said services on the South Link Line would resume first thing this morning. Train services between Hualien and Taitung and along the North Link Line resumed yesterday.

Meanwhile, the COA said agricultural losses from the typhoon were estimated at NT$10 million (US$345,000), with bananas hit the hardest. The torrential rain squalls and gusty winds brought by the storm since Sunday caused heavy damage to crops in Hualien, as well as in Pingtung and Taitung counties, it said. As of 9am yesterday, nearly 374 hectares of farmland had been affected, the council said.

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