Sun, Jun 17, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Taipei inundated with torrential rain

DOWNPOUR:The CWB forecast milder weather, but said that the approach of Typhoon Guchol could bring another wave of rainfall to southern areas from Tuesday

By Mo Yan-chih and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

Scooters and cars drive along a road in Erchong District in New Taipei City yesterday. The road remained open because the 20cm to 30cm deep water did not reach the level at which roads are required to be closed.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Time

A strong weather front brought torrential downpours to northern Taiwan yesterday, with accumulated rainfall reaching 130mm in parts of Taipei within three hours in the afternoon.

Taipei’s Wenshan (文山), Daan (大安) and Zhongshan (中山) districts were worst hit by the heavy rain.

A total of 82 areas were flooded in the city, but no major injuries were reported, according to Taipei City’s Emergency Operations Center.

Taipei City’s Department of Transportation temporarily blocked some lanes on Zhongshan N Road, Muzha Road, Longjiang Street and Xinhai Tunnel because of flooding.

In the wake of Tuesday’s torrential rain, which caused serious flooding in Taipei and sparked public discontent with the Taipei City Government’s response, the city’s emergency operations mechanism was activated shortly after 2pm to monitor the situation in all 12 districts.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) presided over an emergency operations meeting at 5:30pm yesterday and then visited the Wanfang pumping station to inspect operations, amid concerns about the situation in the area after an error at the station caused serious flooding in Wenshan District.

“All departments have learned a lesson from the torrential rain on Tuesday and activated the emergency operations mechanism ahead of time. I think this is a good approach,” he said.

Torrential rain earlier in the week caused serious flooding in many parts of Taipei. The city government came under fire for its late announcement of work and class cancelations, and several officials stepped down following the operational error at Wanfang pumping station.

During the inspection visit to the station yesterday, a man shouted at Hau, demanding that the mayor “take responsibility and step down” for the flooding in the district, but Hau did not respond.

Hau instructed Department of Public Works and district offices to ensure all pumping stations were functioning properly and to monitor flooding in each district.

The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said milder weather was expected after today as the front leaves Taiwan, but added that the approach of Typhoon Guchol could bring another wave of rainfall to southern areas from Tuesday.

As of yesterday afternoon, Guchol was centered 1,290km southeast of the nation’s southernmost point, moving at 23kph in a north-northwesterly direction with maximum sustained winds of 154kph, with gusts reaching 190kph.

Guchol is unlikely to hit Taiwan directly, but could bring levels of precipitation similar to those experienced around Taiwan over the past week, the bureau said.

“The typhoon will be closest to Taiwan on Monday, and its circumference is likely to bring rain to eastern Taiwan,” bureau forecaster Lin Chi-hui (林智暉) said, adding that central and southern Taiwan should be prepared for the possibility of torrential rain or extremely torrential rain.

Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) visited the bureau yesterday -afternoon and received a briefing on the latest weather report.

Saying that heavy rainfall over the past week had already caused considerable damage throughout the nation, Chen said that while government agencies would take precautionary measures, the public also needed to take every precaution.

Additional reporting by CNA

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