The Central Weather Bureau yesterday said it would sign an agreement with Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC) today to jointly build an automated weather station and upgrade an earthquake detection station at the company’s sixth naphtha cracker complex in Mailiao Township (麥寮), Yunlin County.
This makes Formosa Plastics the first private company to conduct such a project with the bureau to reinforce its ability to cope with natural disasters.
Lin Shi-min (林熹閔), a section chief at the bureau’s forecast center, said the new weather station would be automated and thus require no staff.
“We already have a strong earthquake detection station in the park, but we can only check the information recorded at the station after the earthquake has occurred,” Lin said. “We think we can use this opportunity to upgrade the system so that the information can be transmitted instantly to the bureau for analysis.”
The bureau said both stations could begin operations by the end of June.
Lin also said that it would carefully evaluate any proposal from private corporations asking the bureau to help them build a weather or earthquake detection station. Both the bureau and the company must be able to benefit from any such an initiative, he said.
Lin said Formosa Plastics is providing its property free of charge to build the weather station and has agreed to pay for the communications costs and utility charges the two stations generate, in exchange for information it needs to prepare for natural disasters.
The same information would be forwarded to the Yunlin County Government, local residents and the company’s other naphtha cracker plants nearby so they could respond quickly to natural disasters as well. The bureau can receive more instant information from the stations to help it issue alerts for natural disasters and update figures on weather conditions and earthquakes.
Currently, the nation has about 400 automated weather stations and 700 earthquake detection stations.
In related news, the northern, central and eastern parts of the nation will remain affected by a frontal system today, meaning the chances of showers in those areas are high, the bureau forecast yesterday, adding that temperatures nationwide would also drop slightly because of the rain and the clouds.
While the rain will ease and temperatures will increase slightly tomorrow, chances of precipitation will be high throughout Taiwan due to another frontal system lasting from Thursday through Sunday, the bureau said.