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Weather bureau warns of torrential rain islandwide

2012/05/01 21:40:59

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Residents throughout Taiwan are warned of torrential downpours as first plum rains this year are expected to arrive Wednesday, the Central Weather Bureau said Tuesday.

"This year's plum rain season will see a higher likelihood of torrential rains," said Cheng Ming-dean of the bureau, referring to a two-month period that is characterized by heavy rainfall and thunderstorms.

Cheng said the most intense rainfall during the season, which started Tuesday, is expected between late May and mid-June, especially in the drought-prone central and southern regions.

There have also been signs that more participation will occur this year, he said at a news conference at which several government agencies gave briefing on flood prevention efforts in preparation for the rainy season.

Meanwhile, Cheng said preliminary observations indicate that the likelihood of Taiwan being hit by one or more strong typhoons is slightly higher this year than in previous years.

The number of typhoons this year is estimated to be around the yearly average of 3.7, based on recent meteorological trends, he said.

However, the bureau will need more information in order to make a more precise prediction, which will be announced in late June, he added.

Typhoons and plum rains are the two major causes of meteorological disasters in Taiwan, Cheng noted.

As part of the country's disaster prevention efforts, the Water Resources Agency launched three new services to provide flood warnings, information on river flows and weather forecasts.

The information will be accessible via a smartphone app and another service that will send flood warning updates to cell phone users who register on the agency's website.

(By Elaine Hou)