Torrential rainfall brought by Tropical Storm Fung-Wong (鳳凰) battered the nation yesterday, killing one person and injuring four people.
According to casualty reports from the Central Emergency Operation Center, the victim was identified as a 50-year-old man surnamed Hsu (許) in Taitung County’s Beinan Township (卑南). He was reported to have been carried away by rising water in the Beinan River while cleaning a ditch in front of his house. Rescuers later found his body downstream.
A 62-year-old man surnamed Wang (王) suffered a fracture of his left leg and was treated at the Mackay Memorial Hospital (Taitung Branch), the center said.
A Chinese tourist surnamed Dai (戴), 52, was injured in his face after being hit by a flying billboard while traveling in Greater Tainan, the center said, adding that one male and one female, surnamed Cheng (鄭) and Liu (劉), were injured while traveling by motorycle in Wuchi (梧棲) in Greater Taichung.
More than 1,200 residents in Nantou, Chiayi, Taitung and Hualien counties, as well as Greater Taich-ung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung, were evacuated in view of the potential disasters brought by the storm.
Meanwhile, Beinan Township preemptively closed the bridge at Jhihben (知本), which is known for its hot springs, due to surging water in the river.
Landslides were also reported in the Jhihben National Forest Recreational Area.
The Directorate-General of Highways also preemptively closed the Suhua Highway and other highways.
Because of the storm, 96 international flights were canceled and 12 were delayed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport by 4pm yesterday.
As the storm gradually moved from the east to the northern part of the nation, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) suspended the operation of the South Link Railway and the Alishan Forest Railway.
Express train services departing from Taipei to Hualien after 6:20pm were canceled, whereas those from Hualien to Taipei departing after 8:30pm were canceled.
According to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), the center of the storm briefly made landfall at Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) at 10am before moving north along the East Coast.
However, the storm’s movement differed from an earlier forecast, according to which the storm would have made landfall in the south and move across land on the west coast before exiting through the north coast.
The unexpected change in direction caused heavy rainfall in Pintung and Taitung counties. As of 6pm, Dawu Mountain (大武山) in Pintung has received 926mm of rain on its west side. Jinfong (金鋒) in Taitung had an accumulated rainfall of 671mm.
The bureau also raised the estimated rainfall in the mountainous areas in Taitung and Pintung counties to 900mm and 1,100mm respectively.
As of 6:15pm, the center of the storm was 30km southeast of Hualien. It was moving north at 22kph. The radius of the storm had reached 150km.
Bureau forecaster Chen Yi-liang (陳怡良) said the radius of the storm covered the entire nation as it continued moving north, adding that the storm’s influence will be felt until this morning.
He said that the bureau could lift the land alert for Taiwan proper this morning. The sea alert could be lifted this afternoon.
However, Chen said residents of central and southern Taiwan should still be on alert as a southwesterly wind following the storm could bring heavy rainfall to this region.
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