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Inaccurate storm forecasts arouse public anger in Taiwan

Publication Date : 22-06-2012

 

Both sea and land warnings against Tropical Storm Talim have been lifted as the storm moves away from Taiwan.

With southwest air currents continuously affecting the island, however, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) was yesterday still warning against potential downpours and rainstorms. Meanwhile, the CWB suffered a barrage of complaints about its forecasts after less rainfall than expected hit Taiwan.

Although the force of the air currents should continue to decrease over the next few days, with the overall amount of rain likely to decrease and affect fewer areas, there is still a high chance of localised rainstorms, according to CWB staffer Lin Hsiou-wen.

Cities in the north should beware of afternoon thunderstorms, while those in Central and Southern Taiwan need to still be prepared against huge downpours — including Taichung, Nantou County, Yunlin County, Chiayi County, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung County, Lin said.

Talim was the first storm of the year that caused both sea and land warnings from the CWB. As Talim was accompanied by the active southwest air currents, the bureau originally expected total precipitation of 1,200 to 1,500 mm in the mountainous areas of Southern Taiwan, while that in Central Taiwan mountainous areas was forecast at between 700 to 1,100 mm.

The amount of rainfall was less than the CWB's expectations, however, with Northern Taiwan being calm and free of heavy rain on Wednesday morning, leaving many wondering if the storm had arrived at all. The rainfall measured in the southern mountains reached 800 to 1,200 mm, and 600 to 900 mm in the central mountains.

Lin said that the CWB had made the total rainfall estimates according to the amount measured during the previous wave of southwest air currents, based on disaster prevention concerns. It is challenging to make precise rainfall predictions when taking into account the influence of both a tropical storm and coinciding air current, she said.

Talim's force had continuously decreased as it maintained a high moving speed, and there was also no stagnant rainfall, so the rain accumulated slower than expected, Lin added.

Despite this, the total rainfall of Kaohsiung's Taoyuan District reached 698 mm, that of Pingtung's Chunrih Township was at 655, while that of Pingtung's Majia Township exceeded 585 mm.

The public should be more lenient with the CWB and its typhoon disaster predictions, CWB official Lee Cheng-shang said.

From the perspective of disaster prevention, it is better to be over-prepared so the impact of a disaster could be reduced than to be under-prepared.

 

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