Thu, Feb 15, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Weather guru shares knowledge

FACEBOOK FAME:The self-taught forecaster, who runs a government-certified weather station from his home, has more than 50,000 followers

By Liu Hsiao-hsin and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Lu Chuan-en stands next to meteorological instruments on the roof of his house in Changhua County’s Hemei Township on Dec. 22 last year.

Photo: Liu Hsiao-hsin, Taipei Times

Lu Chuan-en (呂權恩) has been recording the weather every day since junior-high school and owns his own government-certified weather station in Changhua County’s Hemei Township (和美), which he uses to share real-time weather forecasts online.

Lu, 51, said he still remembers how his passion for forecasting started 40 years ago.

Two powerful typhoons struck Taiwan that year and he could not stop staring at their tracks, Lu said, adding that since then, he has observed the weather every day.

Back then, there were very few publications on weather observation, so he found materials and taught himself, he said.

Due to family circumstances, he could not continue his education after junior-high school and went to work at a factory, Lu said.

He moved to Taipei to work at an instrument company and used his first savings to purchase a measuring cup — the cheapest way he could measure rainfall amounts, Lu said, adding that his monthly salary at the time was NT$8,000 and the measuring cup cost NT$3,500.

Lu’s weather diary then became increasingly detailed and included everything from weather conditions, temperature and wind speed, to the effect of weather on other variables, he said.

Lu said his most profound weather memory was Typhoon Wayne in 1986, which had a complicated track and made landfall in the middle of Taiwan, causing significant damage.

After years of observation, he believes that “salt-wind damage” is the most easily ignored among the different types of damage that typhoons bring, Lu said.

In August 1990, the Central Weather Bureau recognized Lu’s Silver Star Weather Station as an exclusive observation station under what is now named the Regulations on the Approval of Exclusive Observation Stations (專用觀測站認可辦法), he said.

The station has moved with Lu over the years and is now on the roof of his house, while other observation instruments are in his household shrine room, Lu said.

He has also begun providing regional weather forecasting services online through his Facebook group Taiwan Weather Preview (台灣天氣搶先報), which has more than 50,000 members, he added.

The most popular forecasts he posts on Facebook are the ones for rain, Lu said, adding that the group’s members, who call him Lu Ta (呂大), decide whether they will dry their clothes outside, open their night market stand or begin construction based on his analysis.

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