From drought to floods: long-awaited rainy season begins

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs initiated a Level 2 Disaster Response team at 12:00 pm today, and the Central Weather Bureau issued heavy rain and extremely heavy rain alerts for 16 counties, as most of Taiwan came under the influence of a “plum rain” front.

The seasonal rain, generated by the interaction of monsoonal southwest winds with a quasi-stationary front, was long-awaited this year as Taiwan is experiencing the worst drought in 56 years.

The Central Weather Bureau issued heavy rain and extremely heavy rain warnings for 16 counties and cities at 1:35 pm, May 30, with the extremely heavy rain warning issued for Changhua and Nantou counties.

Heavy rain and extremely heavy rain alerts for Taiwan May 30, 2021.
Heavy rain and extremely heavy rain alerts for Taiwan May 30, 2021.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Water Resources Department convened meetings on May 27 and 28 to prepare standard response procedures ahead of possible extreme weather events expected this weekend. Pumping stations were checked, and 1,500 mobile pumps were dispatched to flood-prone areas.

Short-term heavy rain occurred on the coast of Changhua County this morning, causing flooding in some low-lying areas. As of 2:40 pm, the highest accumulated rainfall had occurred at Xiushui Township, Changhua County with 194 millimeters, Fuxing Township, Changhua County with 189.5 millimeters, and Dacun Township, Changhua County at 158.5 millimeters.

The Water Resources Department issued a flood warning at 2:00 pm for Dongshi Township, and Yizhu Township, in Chiayi County, and Xuejia District and Beimen District in Tainan City.

Accumulated rainfall to 1:00 pm, May 30, 2021.
Accumulated rainfall to 1:00 pm, May 30, 2021.

The heavy rain experienced along the coast is expected to extend into inland mountain areas later today, bringing much-needed rain to reservoir catchment zones.

The Deji Reservoir in Taichung City this morning stood at just 1.7% capacity. Other reservoirs in the central and southern parts of the country are at similar critically low levels.

Deji Reservoir in Taichung City at a capacity of just 1.7%, May 30, 2021.
Deji Reservoir in Taichung City at a capacity of just 1.7%, May 30, 2021.

The current frontal rain is expected to last until Tuesday, before weakening and receding north on Wednesday. Afternoon showers and thunderstorms are still expected Wednesday and Thursday. Meteorologists expect another frontal system to descend from the north next weekend, bringing more heavy rain.

Public Hall and square in Lugang (Lukang) Old Street, Changhua County this afternoon, May 30. Picture: Changhua County Fire Department.
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