Three to four tropical storms or typhoons are expected to hit Taiwan this year due to a weak La Nina effect in the northwest Pacific Ocean, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, as typhoon season begins next month.
Taiwan’s typhoon season generally lasts from July to September, with most typhoons occurring in August.
Weather Forecast Center Director Lu Kuo-chen (呂國臣) told a news conference that a weakening La Nina is expected to have less of an effect on Taiwan.
“The climate simulation we conducted, and those conducted by other meteorological agencies around the world, showed that the number of typhoons that form in the northwest Pacific Ocean this year and the number of typhoons that would directly affect Taiwan are likely to fall within a normal range,” Lu said.
The average temperature over the next three months is expected to be normal to slightly warmer than usual, while rainfall is likely to be about the same as the average for this climate, he said.
On average, 20 to 25 tropical storms or typhoons are expected to occur in the northwest Pacific between now and December, three to four of which are forecast to affect Taiwan directly.
Only two tropical storms have so far formed in the northwest Pacific, fewer than the average of 4.3 for this climate, Lu said.
In a La Nina year, tropical storms or typhoons are likely to form close to Taiwan, Lu said.
“Once typhoons form off the east coast of the Philippines, they move toward Taiwan, or turn north toward Japan or Korea,” he said. “Because the typhoons travel a shorter distance before reaching shore, their intensity is likely to be normal.”
Two tropical systems are developing south of Taiwan, CWB senior weather forecaster Wu Wan-hua (伍婉華) said.
A low pressure system is lingering east of the Philippines, where tropical systems tend to develop, he said.
Another tropical disturbance in the South China Sea has become strong and is forecast to move northwest toward Hong Kong, while meteorological agencies in other countries have yet to agree on how the tropical system that is east of the Philippines will develop, Wu said.
“We will need to monitor the development of these two systems to determine how they will affect Taiwan,” she said. “There might be a Fujiwara effect if they are about 1,000km apart and comparable in strength, but it is still too early to tell.”
The tropical system in the South China Sea might be upgraded to Tropical Storm Chaba tomorrow, the bureau said, adding that from today, there would be a southeasterly wind bringing intervals of rain in its path.
As the low pressure system approaches the south of Taiwan on Friday, rain is expected on the east coast all that day, and in southern Taiwan and on outlying islands over the weekend, Wu said.
People in southeastern Taiwan and on the Hengchun Peninsula (恆春半島) should watch out for short bursts of intense rain, while people in northern and central Taiwan should brace for strong afternoon thundershowers, she said.
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