Parts of northern Taiwan on flood alert as rainy season front arrives

Heavy rain began falling in the early hours of the morning in northern Taiwan today, causing floods and power outages in Hsinchu County and Taoyuan City.

The Hsinchu County Government declared a level three emergency response after the Central Weather Bureau issued a heavy rain disaster warning at 4:30 am this morning.

From 2:00 am, rainfall in 10 cities and townships in Hsinchu County exceeded warning levels. From 3:25 am the maximum hourly rainfall in Hsinchu City reached 106 mm per hour, exceeding drainage capacity, and causing water to accumulate in many places, cutting off roads in low-lying areas and flooding road and railway underpasses.

The fire department said that personnel are monitoring flood-prone sites, blocking entry to flood-affected roads, and deploying pumping equipment to drain the accumulated water.

The fire department urged the public to avoid flooded roads, and not to attempt to force their way through floodwater. Firefighters rescued three people from the roofs of their vehicles after they were trapped by floodwater in an underpass in Zhubei City.

firefighters block traffic on flooded roadway in Hsinchu County.
Firefighters block traffic on flooded roadway in Hsinchu County. Picture: Hsinchu County Government.

Access to some schools, including Jinghua Junior High School and Fuxing Elementary School were affected by road flooding, and staff urgently contacted parents requesting students attend class online.

In Taoyuan City, lightning strikes caused power outages to around 10,000 households in the early hours of the morning. Power was restored to most homes by around 5:00 am, and completely restored by 7:30 am.

At 10:20 am, the CWB issued an extremely heavy rain to torrential rain warning for Hsinchu County, heavy rain to extremely heavy rain for Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City, and Miaoli County, and heavy rain advisory for Keelung City and New Taipei City. The warnings are in effect from this morning through tonight.

rain radar map
CWB rain radar map at 8:50 am, May 19, 2023.
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