The Central Weather Bureau issued a sea alert for tropical storm Pabuk at 11:30pm yesterday as the low pressure system approached the east coast of Taiwan.
At press time, the center of the storm was located 940km southeast of Ilan County and was moving northwest at 24kph. The maximum wind speed near the center of the storm was measured at 85kph.
The bureau forecast that Pabuk will have moved to within 340km of Ilan County by 2pm today.
As Pabuk's circumference is relatively small, the bureau said that the storm will probably only affect coastal areas. The bureau will decide this morning whether or not to issue a land alert.
The bureau said the storm posed a threat to vessels operating along the east coast and the southern end of the Bashi Channel.
The storm, named after a fresh-water fish, is the sixth to form since this year's typhoon season began. Should its path remain unchanged, Pabuk is likely to become the first tropical storm to affect Taiwan this year.
The rain that Pabuk is likely to bring would end the drought that the east coast is experiencing. The lack of rain this year has made it difficult for farmers to irrigate their crops.
The storm might bring showers in the north and northeast of the country today. The chances of afternoon thundershowers in central and southern regions are also high. Cloudy to sunny skies are forecast for the islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.
Meanwhile, water officials at the Ministry of Economic Affairs have mixed feelings about the storm.
Officials at the Water Resources Agency said yesterday that while they hope Pabuk will bring timely rains, they also fear that the tropical storm could cause damage.
Water Resources Agency Director Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢) said river management offices had been instructed to move their mobile water pumps to strategic points where they could be used in the event of flooding.
Chen said Taitung County had been hit hard by a serious drought and he hoped the rain brought by Pabuk would bring some relief.