Thu, Oct 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Ministry chides weather bureau over false report

By Cheng Hung-ta  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday asked Central Weather Bureau personnel to exercise greater caution after a weather report caused confusion among the public.

Bureau Research and Development Center Director Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典) on Sunday posted satellite images, which he said showed plumes of smoke rising from the ground.

Netizens said that the smoke was rising from Taichung’s Houli District (后里) after matching the images with a map of the city.

The Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau sent its personnel to find the source of the smoke, but to no avail.

Cheng later apologized for misinterpreting the images, saying he had mistaken cirrus clouds for smoke caused by fire.

New Power Party Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) said in a question-and-answer session at the meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee that the staff at her office have been busy answering calls from concerned residents in Taichung, but the staff had no information about the images and could not provide answers.

Hung said that her staff contacted Cheng, who informed them about the mistake.

Taichung residents are particularly concerned about air pollution, she said, adding that the ministry should be more careful when publishing pollution-related information.

Department of Aviation and Navigation Director-General Chen Chin-sheng (陳進生) said that Cheng has many Facebook followers because he used to be the bureau’s Weather Forecast Center director.

The bureau has also examined the images and verified that they were cirrus clouds, with shapes and forms resembling solid waste on the ground.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chi Wen-jong (祁文中) said that the ministry has insisted that Cheng verify the information.

Cheng and the bureau corrected the reports, Chi said, adding that they would endeavor to be more careful.

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