Taipei, March 27 (CNA) Central Taiwan will be vulnerable to mudslides in the coming days because a strong earthquake that jolted the region Wednesday combined with expected rains could make geological conditions unstable, the Central Weather Bureau has warned.
The chances of falling rocks and mudslides could increase in mountainous central Taiwan if topsoil loosened by the magnitude 6.1 earthquake is further eroded by rainfall expected later in the evening, said Cheng Ming-dean, director of the bureau's Weather Forecast Center, on Wednesday.
The earthquake, which has left at least one dead and 19 injured, occurred about 40 kilometers away from the epicenter of a magnitude 7.3 earthquake in 1999 that resulted in the deaths of over 2,400 people.
Cheng said that between 1999 and 2004, as little as 30 millimeters of rainfall in a single day -- about one-tenth of the amount seen during a rainstorm -- could trigger mudslides in the area.
That is why even though Wednesday's temblor was seen as a normal release of energy, the earthquake could still pose a threat to the region in the near future, especially with rain expected in the next three days.
According to bureau forecasts, showers and thunderstorms are likely in central Taiwan from late Wednesday to Friday.
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)