CWB keeps close watch on Kompasu

KEEPING WARY: The nation waited for Tropical Storm Kompasu to decide which way it was heading, as the interior ministry activated response teams

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Jul 15, 2004 - Page 1

The nation is bracing itself for another bout of torrential rain and strong winds as Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday issued land and sea warnings for Tropical Storm Kompasu for southeast and northeast Taiwan.

At 10pm last night, the storm's center was 130km south-southeast of Taitung in eastern Taiwan, the bureau said. The typhoon is predicted to make landfall or skirt Oluanpi, the southernmost tip of Taiwan, at around 8am this morning while its radius is estimated to reach the country between 2 and 3 am this morning.

Packing gusts of up to 65kph, Kompasu was moving west-northeast at a speed of 18km per hour. The bureau warned of heavy downpours in southern and southeastern areas, urging residents to take precautions against flooding, landslides and mudflows.


The Ministry of the Interior activated the disaster response center at 3pm yesterday and officials of government agencies concerned stood by at the center for rescue duties at 5pm.

The ministry is required by law to activate the center when sea and land warnings are issued and government officials of agencies concerned must stand by at the center six hours before the storm is predicted to affect the island.

The bureau issued a land warning at 9:30am for areas including Taitung, Hualien, Green Island, Orchid Island and the Hengchun Peninsula. A sea warning was also issued for vessels operating in the Bashi Channel and the waters off southeast and northeast Taiwan.

According to forecaster Chang Po-hsiung (張博雄), Kompasu, with a radius of 100km and packing maximum sustained winds of up to 25 meters per second, is expected to bring heavy rains to southern and eastern Taiwan despite its "far-from perfect" storm structure.

"Due to the not-so-ideal structure of the storm system, it can be easily broken by terrain, causing it to weaken," Chang said.

This does not necessarily guarantee less rainfall, Chang added.

"The flooding that followed Tropical Storm Mindulle wasn't actually caused by the storm itself, but rather the southwest airflow it brought along," he said.


Chang predicted that accumulated rainfall in the plain areas of eastern and southern Taiwan brought by Kompasu might reach between 100mm and 200mm, and between 150mm and 250mm in mountain areas.

The accumulated rainfall in Hualien's Yuli township was recorded at 633 mm when Tropical Storm Mindulle swept through southern Taiwan on July 1.

The flooding triggered by Mindulle killed 29 people and left 12 missing.

Statistics made available by the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission show that 41 typhoons have hit the island over the past decade, killing a total of 532 people.

In 2001, Typhoon Toraji claimed 111 lives and Typhoon Nari caused 94 deaths.

The flooding caused by Typhoon Xangsane in 2000 left 64 dead and 44 lives were lost when Typhoon Winnie hit the island in 1997. Fifty-one more lives were lost when Typhoon Herb ravaged the island in 1996.