President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) directed public agencies yesterday to be prepared for heavy rains from Tropical Storm Talim, which may deliver up to 1,500mm of precipitation in mountainous areas in the coming days, forecasts said.
The storm, along with strong southwesterly winds brought by Typhoon Guchol, will bring a huge amount of rainfall and pose a threat to Taiwan, Ma said while inspecting an information center set up in Banciao District (板橋), New Taipei City (新北市), to monitor the Tamsui River (淡水河).
Ma instructed agencies to closely monitor river water levels, distribute water pumps and sandbags and dredge drainage ditches.
Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫), director-general of the Water Resources Agency, said in a briefing that some areas could receive up to 1,500mm of rainfall, and he warned people in mountainous areas in central and southern Taiwan to be alert to possible flooding and landslides.
Also yesterday, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) visited the Central Emergency Operation Center and asked it to alert local governments to the need for precautionary evacuations in areas prone to natural disasters during heavy rains as quickly as possible.
Separately yesterday, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan County and Keelung have agreed to jointly make a decision on whether to cancel classes and work. If necessary, suspension announcements will be issued at 5:30am on the day of a suspension, Hau said while inspecting the city’s disaster response center.
The Taipei City Government faced criticism last week after making a suspension announcement at 9:54am on Tuesday following heavy torrential rain overnight, when people were either already at work or on their way there.
The controversy over late announcements of work and school shutdowns prompted a directive from Ma on Wednesday last week stating that in future, torrential rain forecasts should be issued between 4am and 5:30am, so that local governments would be able to make suspension announcements before people leave home for work or school.
Government regulations allow for the closure of offices and schools if more than 350mm of rain is expected in a 24-hour period.