The Central Weather Bureau yesterday morning lifted its land warning for Taiwan proper as Tropical Storm Saola moved away from the island and entered China’s Fujian Province.
The bureau also said a tropical storm that has developed near Guam is expected to head toward the Ryukyu Islands and not to pose a major threat to Taiwan.
As of 2pm yesterday, Tropical Storm Haikui was more than 2,000km east of Taiwan, traveling at about 25kph in a west-northwesterly direction, with a maximum wind speed at its center of 18 meters per second (mps), the bureau said. The bureau predicted that a weakening Pacific high-pressure system would push Haikui further north, reducing the odds that it will threaten Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the nation started to clean up yesterday after Saola dumped massive volumes of rainfall over the past three days, with northeastern and northern areas taking the brunt of it.
Taipingshan (太平山) in Yilan County recorded 1,216mm of accumulated rainfall between 10 am on Tuesday and 10 am yesterday, while Taian Township (泰安) in Miaoli County received 1,030.5mm.
Service on most railway lines returned to normal after being suspended because of Saola, a spokesman for the Taiwan Railways Administration said.
Traffic on a section of the North-Link Line between Suao in Yilan County and Hualien County in eastern Taiwan resumed earlier in the day. Train service on the line was suspended after the Nanao-Chongde section was badly damaged by landslides caused by Saola’s heavy rains on Thursday.
The only section of Taiwan’s railway still closed as of yesterday afternoon was the Shueili (水里)-Checheng (車埕) section of the Jiji Line in Nantou County, which was buried by a landslide during the storm.
According to Council of Agriculture statistics, agricultural losses due to Saola had reached NT$495 million (US$16.5 million) nationwide.
The lost value of bananas from crop damage was estimated to be about NT$61.78 million — the most among all the damaged crops, followed by sugar-apples, taros, bamboo shoots, cabbages, guavas and a green vegetable called dragon whiskers (龍鬚菜), the council said.
The council said the damages were mainly from fallen fruit beaten down by heavy rain or struck down by strong winds, soaked in flooding or bruised by water.
Other agricultural damages include an estimated NT$4.2 million loss in the livestock and poultry industry, about NT$53 million loss in the fishing and aquaculture industry, and about NT$520,000 loss in the forestry industry, the council said.
Official data also showed that total crop-damaged areas accumulated to about 7,574 hectares.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education reported NT$5.45 million in storm-related damage to 127 schools around the country, including 26 in Yilan County, 26 in Greater Kaohsiung, 11 in New Taipei City (新北市) and 10 in Taipei.
Currently, schools in 15 townships around the country are still closed, the agency said.
As of 8 pm last night, five people were confirmed dead, 16 injured and two remained missing, as a result of Saola, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.