Sat, Jan 28, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Weather outlook fine for last holiday trips

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Northbound traffic surges in Taipei yesterday afternoon as the Lunar New Year holiday comes to an end.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

People planning to take a last--minute trip during the Lunar New Year holiday might want to do that today as the likelihood of showers will be high again from tomorrow with the arrival of a strong northeast monsoon.

The Central Weather Bureau said temperatures started to rise yesterday as a cold front that lingered over the nation for the past few days weakened. Cloudy to sunny skies were seen nationwide, with a low of 12.5oC recorded in Yilan County early yesterday morning. Rain was seen only sporadically in Yilan, Hualien, Taitung and mountainous areas in the north.

The bureau said the northeast monsoon would increase the chance of showers in northern and eastern regions.

Residents in central and southern Taiwan, on the other hand, would still see cloudy skies.

Meanwhile, the mercury will drop again next week with the arrival of another cold front on Monday. Cold and rainy weather is forecast to continue from Monday through Thursday in the north and northeast, with low temperatures expected in central and southern parts of the country in the early morning and evening.

The end of the Lunar New Year holiday as well as warmer weather encouraged motorists to travel yesterday, with traffic congestion on several sections of freeway.

Before the holiday began, the National Freeway Bureau announced it would implement a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) policy on northbound lanes between Kao-hsiung and Neili (內壢) on Freeway No. 1 and Jiouru (九如) and Dasi (大溪) on Freeway No. 3 on Thursday and yesterday from 9am to 3pm, because it said that some might return home early to avoid traffic.

The bureau said heavy traffic began on freeways after HOV hours ended. As of 5:30pm, the heaviest traffic was reported in the northbound lanes between Toucheng (頭城) Interchange and Toucheng Toll Station on Freeway No. 5, and driving speed had fallen to a slow crawl at 13kph. Congestion was reported on several sections in northern, central and southern Taiwan on Freeway Nos. 1, 3 and 10.

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