Extreme weather events could become routine, a climate expert has warned after a sudden downpour on Friday left densely populated areas of New Taipei City (新北市) inundated by flash flooding after just 30 minutes.
Extreme conditions like super-hot temperatures and sudden torrential rainfall, both of which Taiwan has seen in recent weeks, are a worldwide phenomena that will likely become commonplace, National Taiwan University atmospheric science professor Liu Chung-ming (柳中明) was quoted as saying in local Chinese-language media reports.
The changes, brought about by global warming, hit Australia particularly hard early this year, with numerous forest fires and floods stemming from record temperatures and rainfall across the country in what has been dubbed “the angry summer,” Liu said.
The mercury in Taipei hit 39.3˚C on Aug. 8, setting a new record for Taiwan’s capital, according to data from the Central Weather Bureau.
Friday in the capital began with blue skies, before the weather suddenly turned in the afternoon, taking both residents and the bureau by surprise. The bureau did not issue a warning for torrential rain until hours later after 4pm.
Bureau data show that 10 out of 41 administration districts of Taipei and New Taipei City saw more than 50mm of rainfall between 2pm and 5pm on Friday. New Taipei City’s Jhonghe (中和) was drenched with 116mm of rain during that time.
Meteorologists said Friday’s unexpected storm was the result of a wet southwesterly wind and strong convection in the afternoon hours.