Mon, Feb 21, 2011 - Page 2 News List

La Nina heightens risk of major typhoons: officials

Staff Writer, with CNA

The possibility of a powerful typhoon hitting the nation this fall is high and the country needs to prepare as quickly as possible, the Water Resources Agency said on Saturday.

Typhoons that form in September or October, known as autumn typhoons, often wreak havoc nationwide, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said.

A ministry official said according to the information provided by NASA, the current La Nina, which began in the second half of last year, is the strongest recorded during the past half century.

Scientists believe the La Nina could trigger several typhoons this year, which could be difficult to anticipate because their formation could be within 100km and 200km of Taiwan or the Philippines.

“After the typhoon is formed, it could hit Taiwan within a period of two or three days, presenting enormous difficulties for the prevention of a disaster,” the official said.

Preparations for typhoons have to begin earlier this year, including the dredging of drainage channels and the priming and maintenance of pumping stations, the official said.

“We have to guard against the serious consequences of typhoons,” the official said.

For example, Typhoon Xangsane, which struck on Oct. 31, 2000, left 64 people dead, 25 missing and 65 injured and caused NT$3.588 billion (US$122.05 million) in agricultural and forestry damages, the official said.

A Singapore Airlines plane also crashed, partly because of poor visibility, as it took off in stormy weather from the then-Chiang Kai-shek International Airport.

Seventy-nine passengers and four crewmembers were killed in the accident.

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