Fri, Mar 04, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Rug up: Weekend temperatures might drop to 5 degrees, says weather bureau

STAFF WRITER

The Central Weather Bureau warned yesterday that Taiwan could experience the coldest days of the winter over the weekend and predicted the temperature would drop to below 5oC.

With the arrival of a cold front yesterday, temperatures as low as 10oC are expected to hit areas north of Tainan today. The cold will continue during the weekend and temperatures will rebound on Monday. It will turn from rainy to cloudy today, according to the bureau.

The lows are expected to be 8oC in Taipei and Taichung, and 12oC in Kaohsiung today. Tomorrow, temperatures as low as 6oC in Taipei and Taichung, and 10oC in Kaohsiung are expected. It will be mostly cloudy around the nation, the bureau said.

"The bureau would like to remind people to keep warm, and for fish farmers to take preventive measure against severe cold," a weather official said.

On Tuesday next week, highs of 20oC across the nation are expected while the lows will linger around the 10oC mark, forecasters said.

The cold weather and continuing precipitation have brought more snow to Hohuan Mountain. Roughly 10cm of snow accumulated on the mountain yesterday. Snow has been reported frequently on the mountain in the past two months, bureau officials said.

In some places on the mountain, as much as 30cm of snow was reported.

"The snowy weather on the mountain usually finishes at the end of February. It's now March and it is still snowing. This has only happened very rarely over the past 10 years," a worker at a sightseeing tower on the mountain said.

Nevertheless, few visitors went to see the snow on the mountain yesterday. Traffic police said slippery road conditions have prevented many vehicles from entering the mountain. They also said they would control the number of vehicles on the mountain if necessary.

Snowfall on Jade Mountain exceeded 70cm yesterday, the bureau reported.

As the mercury will stay low for the next few days, doctors urged patients with chronic ailments to keep warm and take medicine regularly. Children who are vulnerable to asthma attacks or have the flu are especially at risk from the chilly weather, doctors warned.

"Because of the cold weather, and influenza B in circulation these days, we have seen twice the number of children with asthma in our clinics than usual," said Kuender Yang (楊崑德), a pediatrician at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Kaohsiung.

The elderly should also pay close attention to their health when the temperature drops.

"For instance, the elderly account for 85 percent of the 1,000 deaths a year as a result of asthma. When the temperature fluctuates, we see more elderly patients suffering bouts of asthma," said Kuo Shou-hsiung (郭壽雄), a professor of internal medicine at National Taiwan University Hospital.

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