Wed, May 03, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Heavy rain causes chaos nationwide

DANGEROUS WEATHER A squall resulted in heavy rainfall that closed airports, trapped workers, washed away vehicles and left one person unaccounted for

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Li Ke-chi, the youngest of seven workers trapped while carrying out dredging work at the Shigang Dam in Taichung County yesterday, uses a rope to climb to safety before the arrival of a helicopter sent by the National Airborne Service Corps of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

PHOTO: CHANG HSUAN-CHE, TAIPEI TIMES

Heavy rain forced three domestic airports to shut down temporarily and caused other problems nationwide yesterday.

Songshan Airport in Taipei was closed from 1:08pm to 1:35pm while Cing Cyuan Gang Airport in Taichung and Hualien Airport were forced to shut down twice.

Over 150mm of rain fell on Taichung City yesterday. The precipitation also caused floods in many low-lying areas of Taichung County.

A surging river trapped seven workers carrying out dredging work at Shigang Dam. Their truck was washed away and they were forced to seek refuge on a sandbank.

The local fire department dispatched a team which rescued four of the men and the remaining three workers were plucked to safety by a helicopter sent by the National Airborne Service Corps of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

An unidentified individual in Taichung's Taiping City (太平) was reported to have been swept away by a river and was still missing as of press time.

The rain was the result of a squall, a thunderstorm complex comprising many individual updrafts. These often occur in warm conditions and may contain precipitation, hail, lightning and dangerous winds.

The Central Weather Bureau detected a squall early yesterday morning. Rain fall levels reached 30mm per hour and the wind force ranged from nine to 11 on the Beaufort Scale.

The Bureau also issued a flood alert yesterday morning for areas north of Chiayi and the Northeastern part of Taiwan. It also warned that landslides and falling rocks may affect mountainous areas in Taoyuan, Miaoli, Taichung and Nantou counties.

Sunny weather is forecast until Monday, with average temperatures of over 30?C, the bureau said.

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