Wed, Aug 31, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Pingtung County hit by heavy rain as storm leaves

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

People living in the Kenting area of Hengchun Township, Pingtung County, stand next to a torrent of water gushing down a road yesterday, as rains brought by Tropical Storm Nanmadol continued to lash southern Taiwan.

Photo: CNA

Torrential rain brought by Tropical Storm Nanmadol continued to pummel the south of the country yesterday as the storm inched its way toward China.

Pingtung County was hit particularly hard, with flooding reported in Hengchun (恆春), Checheng (車城), Manjhou (滿州), Jiadong (佳冬) and Linbian (林邊) townships.

As the rain continued, the Central Weather Bureau raised its rainfall forecast for the Hengchun Peninsula to 1,400mm and said precipitation in mountainous areas of Taitung County could surpass 1,200mm.

Accumulated rainfall in Hengchun from Sunday until 4:30pm yesterday had reached 938mm, the bureau said. This was followed by Manjhou’s Jialeshuei (佳樂水) and Majia villages (瑪家) with 915mm and 835mm of rainfall respectively.

The bureau said the top 10 areas with the highest levels of precipitation were all in Pingtung County.

The rapid rise in rainfall prompted the Pingtung County Government to cancel classes yesterday morning, although many parents had already sent their children to school.

Meanwhile, the Maju Jaya 3, a Panama-registered cargo ship, ran aground near the Tsengwen River Estuary on Monday night. The Southern Coastal Patrol Office said it was ready to deal with any potential oil leak and rescue the crew members once conditions at sea had improved.

The Central Emergency Operation Center said that the storm had caused one death in Taoyuan County and agricultural losses estimated at NT$75.5 million (US$2.6 million).

The bureau lifted the land warning for Taiwan proper at 5:30pm yesterday, but kept its land warning in place for Penghu and Kinmen. It also maintained its sea warning for ships operating in the Taiwan Strait and off the northern coast of Taiwan.

As of 8:30pm, the center of the storm was 60km off the east coast of Kinmen.

Hengchun officials said government offices and schools would be closed today.

Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典), director of the bureau’s weather forecast center, said Nanmadol was moving slowly because it was surrounded by high air pressure systems.

Cheng said Taiwan could expect at least two more typhoons to hit the nation before the end of the typhoon season.

Earlier this year, the bureau had forecast that the nation could be hit by three to five typhoons or tropical storms this year. While summer is generally typhoon season, Cheng said 12 typhoons and tropical storms had formed between July and last month, slightly lower than climate average of 13.5.

“Those threatening to hit Taiwan are generally those formed to the east of the Philippines, but most of them veered away from the nation this year because they were under the influence of a strong high air pressure system from the Pacific Ocean, which explains the high temperatures in July and in August,” Cheng said.

“Typhoons will continue to form in the latter half of this year, though the chance of them hitting Taiwan directly are reduced in general,” Cheng said.

While the bureau estimated that the average temperature and rainfall this fall would likely be within the normal range, Cheng said that the persisting la Nina phenomenon could cause the convection to move west this year and make it more likely that typhoons would hit Taiwan.

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