The Central Weather Bureau’s (CWB) head forecaster yesterday dismissed an online rumor that a magnitude 6.5 earthquake is likely to hit Taichung in central Taiwan on Sunday or Monday, saying that there is no way to predict the time or magnitude of temblors.
An anonymous self-proclaimed “earthquake forecaster” recently said on Facebook that a 6.5 magnitude earthquake would jolt Taichung, and warned people to take earthquake safety precautions. The message has been widely circulated online.
CWB Director-General Shin Tzay-chyn (辛在勤) said the rumor is baseless.
Shin said it takes about 10 seconds to process a seismic wave before an earthquake occurs and another 0.15 seconds to send a warning message to earthquake notification app users, and there is no way to predict the time and location of an earthquake.
Under the Meteorological Act (氣象法), forecasts and alerts for earthquakes, typhoons or other dangerous weather events can only be issued by the bureau, and individuals and private firms that release unauthorized forecasts face fines of between NT$200,000 and NT$1 million (US$6,125 to US$30,626), Shin said.
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