Sat, Jun 30, 2012 - Page 3 News List

El Nino could exacerbate this year’s typhoon season

PERFECT STORM:The Central Weather Bureau said that longer and more intense typhoons and tropical storms could hit Taiwan between July and November

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Central Weather Bureau yesterday said that between three and five typhoons or tropical storms could make landfall on Taiwan this year, adding that they may also last longer and be more powerful because of the El Nino effect.

Most of the nation’s typhoons or tropical storms come in summertime, which lasts from July to September. The typhoon season, however, lasts from July to November, the bureau said.

Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典), director of the bureau’s forecast center, said the bureau estimated a total of 23 to 26 storms would form around the Northwest Pacific this year.

“Our simulation model showed that there is a 90 percent chance that the number of typhoons formed in the Northwest Pacific would be close to or below the annual average of 25.7,” he said.

The bureau forecast that between three and five typhoons would this year either make landfall on Taiwan or would lead the bureau to issue sea or land warnings, with the storms likely to cause severe damage.

As of yesterday, six tropical storms had so far formed in the Northwest Pacific this year.

Aside from Tropical Storm Talim that narrowly avoided hitting Taiwan last week, for which the bureau issued both sea and land warnings, the bureau had so far only issued a sea warning for Tropical Storm Doksuri, which formed this week. The sea warning for Doksuri was lifted by the bureau yesterday morning as it continued to move westward and no longer posed a threat to Taiwan’s seas.

The bureau added that it did not count Doksuri as hitting Taiwan as it did not cause significant damage.

Cheng said the latest data show that there is a 50 percent chance that the El Nino effect will continue to develop for the rest of the year. Research indicates that typhoons and tropical storms tend to form far away from Taiwan during periods when there is an El Nino effect. They also tend to have a longer life span and be more intense, he said.

The bureau also forecast that this summer’s temperatures would most likely fall within the normal range, but it is possible that temperatures in central and southern Taiwan could be above average.

Summertime rainfall is also forecast to fall within the normal range, it added.

According to the bureau, the temperature in Taipei City yesterday reached 35.8oC, which was the highest temperature measured in June so far this year.

The bureau forecast that the weather would be more stable today. Chances for showers remain high in the eastern, southeastern and southern regions of the country, whereas residents in the northern, northeastern and central regions may see thunderstorms, it said.

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