Fri, Jun 15, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Weather Bureau keeps watch on Guchol’s movements

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The Central Weather Bureau yesterday said Tropical Storm Guchol was continuing to strengthen and could pose a threat to the nation next week.

It said Guchol could be upgraded to a typhoon if it increases in strength, but added that it was too early to say if it would hit Taiwan.

Tomorrow will be crucial in determining Guchol’s future development, the bureau said, adding that the storm would be close to Taiwan by Monday if it maintains its current speed and direction.

As of yesterday morning, Guchol was centered 1,960km east of Taiwan’s southern tip, moving at 21kph in a west-northwesterly direction and packing maximum sustained winds of 90kph, with gusts reaching 119kph.

In related developments, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday instructed the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to allocate funds for the procurement of new equipment to better predict heavy rainfall.

During a trip to inspect flooded areas in Taoyuan County on Wednesday, Chen proposed that the bureau establish a precipitation radar network to provide precise information on the density and location of rainfall.

“In the past few years, the number of rainy days has declined, while the total amount of rain has increased. In view of the trend toward extreme precipitation, we have to increase the bureau’s ability to forecast rain,” he said.

The idea was considered by the Water Resources Agency in late 2009 as part of the agency’s flood-prevention plan after Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan, causing severe damage that year.

Under the plan, precipitation radar networks would be set up in northern, central and southern Taiwan by 2016, at an estimated cost of NT$500 million (US$17.8 million).

However, the project has yet to be launched because of budget constraints.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has reportedly issued a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Communication in the hope that the latter could take over the project.

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