Ghost Month hits car sales
With the start of Ghost Month on July 31, car sales in the first 10 days of this month tumbled by more than 20 percent from the same period last month, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Getting married and buying houses or cars are considered taboos during Ghost Month — the seventh month on the lunar calendar. A total of 3,244 cars were sold in the first 10 days of this month, down 23.8 percent from the same period last month. Of the total, 995 were imported, down 27.3 percent, ministry data showed. Nonetheless, overall car sales are still on a growth track, ministry officials said. As of Aug. 10, car sales had gone up by 17.5 percent from a year earlier, with 231,209 cars sold. After Ghost Month, car sales should enter their peak period and are expected to reach 350,000 for the year, officials said.
New rainfall monitors set up
Three new precipitation monitors have been set up along Suhua Highway in the northeast to better predict the likelihood of disasters caused by heavy rainfall, the Central Weather Bureau said, adding that one more will be installed before the end of the year. In October last year, torrential rain brought by Typhoon Megi caused landslides in Yilan County, through which the coastal Suhua Highway runs, leaving more than 20 tourists dead or missing. The bureau said the new installations had narrowed the gap between monitors from 13.8km to between 8km and 9km, to facilitate data collection on rainfall statistics. There were originally only six rainfall monitors along the highway.
Bihai plant to start in October
After 16 years of construction, the Bihai Power Project in Hualien County will start operating in October, adding hydroelectricity to the country’s power supply system, Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) said on Thursday. A power generation test will be carried out in the middle of this month before the plant commences full operations in October, Taipower said. The plant has a capacity of 61,200kW and can supply about 237 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, it said. It can supply about six hours of electricity per day during peak periods, a Taipower official said. The power facility, adjacent to Heping South River in Hualien, is located in a mountainous area where there are no paved roads for vehicles or people, the official said, adding that the renewable energy project was the result of hard work in a demanding environment. Taipower had to create a disposal site for the huge amount of excavated material that is now buried beneath vegetation, the official said.
Moon may eclipse Perseids
Stargazers may be disappointed when a full moon makes it harder to see the annual Perseid meteor shower early this morning, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. One of the year’s most fascinating sky events, the Perseid meteor shower has a rate of about 100 meteors per hour from a radiant near the North Star, where the Perseid meteoroids strike the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. Running from late last month to the middle of this month, the meteor shower will hit its peak at about 2am today. The full moon might wash out the fainter meteors and dim the brightness of the visible ones, the bureau said. “You should feel very lucky if you are able to see one-tenth of the Perseids when they go head-to-head against a full moon,” said Cheng Chen-fong (鄭振豐), an engineer with the bureau’s astronomical observatory.