《TAIPEI TIMES》 Typhoon Surigae might bring rain, CWB says
People walk and ride bicycles amid poor air quality in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
TENSE SITUATION: If the storm does not bring rain, Taiwan might have to wait until next month amid water scarcity in the center and south, an expert said
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
Typhoon Surigae is to bring rain to the nation’s east coast and mountainous areas in central and southern Taiwan from Wednesday to Friday, the Central Weather Bureau （CWB） said yesterday.
As of 2pm yesterday, the typhoon’s center was 1,170km southeast of Oluanpi （鵝鑾鼻）, Taiwan’s southernmost tip. The radius of the storm was 280km, and it was moving northwest at 9kph, with a maximum wind speed of 198kph.
The bureau forecasts that the storm would switch to a northerly direction when approaching the east coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines on Wednesday, CWB forecaster Lin Ding-yi （林定宜） said, adding that Surigae would then move northeast along the Bashi Channel.
Chances of temporary showers would be high in Yilan, Hualien and Taitung counties, as well as in the mountainous areas of central and southern Taiwan, he said.
Surigae was to maintain its strength yesterday and today, Lin said, adding that similarly strong typhoons in April occurred in 1997, 2003 and 2015.
Typhoons usually occur from July to September, the bureau said.
Residents on the northern, eastern and southern coasts as well as those in Penghu and Kinmen counties should be prepared for swells, Lin said.
Peng Chi-ming （彭啟明）, chief executive of WeatherRisk Explore Inc, yesterday wrote on Facebook that Surigae was at the peak of its strength, with lightning frequently occurring at its eye and convection at its circumfluence.
If it made landfall at this strength, it might cause a major disaster, he said.
However, it was a good sign that convective heat transfer in mountainous areas began to occur yesterday afternoon, Peng said.
“Convective heat transfer usually occurs on the west coast in April, but this year, it did not occur until yesterday,” he said.
Thermal instability in the mountains of southern Taiwan were influenced by the typhoon, he added.
CWB Director-General Cheng Ming-dean （鄭明典） said that Surigae has a double eyewall, which is generally a feature of strong typhoons, indicating that the storm might grow further before reaching Luzon.
However, Surigae would gradually weaken once it is moving away from Luzon, Cheng said, citing conditions unfavorable for the typhoon.
WeatherRisk analyst Wu Sheng-yu （吳聖宇） wrote on Facebook that Surigae would likely remain east of the Philippines for at least three to four days, and then accelerate its northward motion.
“When the westerly trough abates, Surigae could also bring rain from southeast China. This might be the best opportunity we have for rain since the beginning of this month. If rain does not occur this time, we might have to wait for next month,” Wu said.
Meanwhile, poor air quality was early yesterday recorded in the outlying island counties of Kinmen and Penghu, and parts of western Taiwan due to pollutants from China and stagnant winds, the Environmental Protection Administration said.
At 9am, 20 air monitoring stations in areas north of Hsinchu County and in Penghu and Kinmen detected generally unhealthy air quality at the “red alert” level, the agency said.
Additional reporting by CNA
Taoist priests stand around an offering table at a rain-prayer ceremony at Wulung Temple in Tainan yesterday. Photo: Wu Chun-feng, Taipei Times