A tropical depression system just south of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) is likely to turn into a tropical storm today, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday, adding that it could issue a sea alert or land alert this morning as soon as the storm forms.
The storm would be named Barijat, it said.
Weather Forecast Center Director Lu Kuo-chen (呂國臣), in an afternoon briefing to Premier William Lai (賴清德), said the force of the tropical depression system had increased yesterday and its projected path would take it through the Bashi Channel toward the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島).
Even though the center of the system would not directly affect Taiwan, such systems have a tendency to become stronger when passing through the Bashi Channel, he said.
If the system does not turn into a tropical storm until the afternoon, the bureau could still issue a sea alert, Lu said.
Residents of Hualien and Taitung counties and the Hengchun Peninsula should be prepared for extremely heavy rainfall as the system nears Taiwan, through 8am this morning, as rainfall estimates were for 150 millimeters (mm) to 300mm.
The accumulated rainfall in the Hengchun Peninsula and mountainous areas of Taitung could top 150mm and 250mm respectively, but rain would ease as the tropical depression moved toward the Pratas Islands, he said.
Taiwan would be under the influence of a Pacific high pressure system from tomorrow to Friday, with isolated showers forecast for the east coast and mountainous areas in the north, while the rest of the nation was expected to see cloudy to sunny skies with isolated thundershowers, Lu said.
Typhoon Mangkhut, which is expected to affect Taiwan’s weather on Saturday and Sunday, has the potential to become a stronger typhoon as the marine environment provides favorable conditions to further its growth, he said.
The bureau has forecast that Mangkhut’s center is likely to pass through the Bashi Channel and the southeast of the nation, and was expected to bring rain to the east coast and the Hengchun Peninsula.
If Mangkhut’s path moves north toward Hualien County, its impact on the north and west of the nation would increase, Lu said.
The bureau would have a better idea of the typhoon’s path on Thursday, he said.
The central government and local government will have to cope with challenges brought by the tropical depression and Mangkhut, and the bureau would strive to provide the most accurate and comprehensive forecasts, Lu said.
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