Nation girds for Tropical Storm Trami

BATTENING DOWN:Sea and land alerts were issued yesterday, while some pomelo farmers began harvesting their crops a week early and several flights were canceled

By Shelley Shan and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters

Wed, Aug 21, 2013 - Page 1

Farmers in the south scrambled to harvest their crops yesterday as Tropical Storm Trami approached northern Taiwan. The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued a sea alert for Trami at 11:30am, followed by a land alert at 8:30pm.

As of press time, Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市) and Keelung had declared today a typhoon day, canceling work and classes.

At press time, the center of the storm was 590km southeast of Taipei.

It was moving northwest at 22kph and the radius of the storm had expanded to 150km.

The storm’s impact — particularly on the northern half of the nation —- is expected to be strongest from this afternoon through midday tomorrow.

Fearing that their crops might be damaged by the storm, some pomelo farmers in Madou (麻豆), Greater Tainan, began harvesting their crops yesterday. The harvest had originally been scheduled to begin next week.

The retail price of some vegetables also rose yesterday because some markets might be closed today for the Ghost Festival. Consumers were also afraid that vegetable supplies might be affected by the storm.

For safety reasons, Cathay Pacific announced yesterday that it would cancel all flights leaving from Hong Kong to Taipei tonight, including flights CX464, CX468 and CX408.

Hong Kong Dragon Airlines said it would cancel flight KA488 from Hong Kong to Taipei tonight.

Far Eastern Air Transport announced that it would cancel all domestic flights to or from Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) after 1pm. Both Mandarin Airlines and TransAsia Airways said they would cancel domestic flights departing or arriving at Songshan airport after 2pm.

Travelers were advised to contact their airlines for updated information.

Trami’s circumfluence brought a substantial amount of rain nationwide yesterday.

By 8:30pm, New Taipei City’s Linkou (林口) had the highest accumulated rainfall at 224mm. It was followed by Guanying (觀音) in Taoyuan County and Bali (八里) in New Taipei City, with accumulated rainfall topping 211mm and 210.5mm respectively.

The bureau said the sea alert applies to vessels operating off the north, northeast and southeast coasts, as well as on the Taiwan Strait.

The land alert applies to residents of Yilan, Taipei, New Taipei City, Hualien County and Keelung, who should be prepared for strong wind and heavy rainfall.

Chances for extremely torrential rain, which refers to accumulated rainfall exceeding 350mm within 24 hours, are high in Yilan, Taipei and New Taipei City; Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, Greater Taichung, Nantou, Yunlin and Chiayi counties, Greater Tainan, Greater Kaohsiung and Pintung County, the bureau said.

Chances for torrential rain, which refers to accumulated rainfall topping 200mm within 24 hours, are high in Keelung, Hsinchu and Chiayi cities, as well as Changhua, Hualien and Taitung counties.

As the spring tide is to occur today, those living in low-lying areas must be prepared for flooding, the bureau said.

Taipei City’s Department of Public Works and Department of Civil Affairs said it has prepared more than 18,000 sand bags for low-lying areas around the city to prevent flooding.

The city also began trimming road trees and set up protective racks around trees to prevent them from being felled by strong winds.

The Ministry of Defense said it has deployed more than 47,000 soldiers and 38 helicopters to support local governments in disaster relief, adding that a total of 10 amphibious assault vehicles are deployed and ready at bases in Yilan, New Taipei City and Chiayi.

More than 1,700 visitors to Green Island returned ahead of schedule yesterday.

Boat services to the island were suspended from yesterday afternoon into tomorrow.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who cut short his transit stop in Los Angeles due to the approach of Trami, will visit the central disaster prevention center after arriving in Taipei this morning.

Ma had been scheduled to stay in Los Angeles for 37 hours on his way back from a five-nation trip to South America and the Caribbean, but shortened the layover to six hours to make it home before the storm.

“I will still be able see the people I want to see [during the stopover in Los Angeles]… I want to be with the people in Taiwan when the nation is under serious influence of the storm,” he said.

Ma was greeted by Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) and American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt upon his arrival at Los Angeles International Airport.

He was able to attend a luncheon with overseas Chinese groups and have a brief meeting with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti during his stopover.

Additional reporting by CNA