Typhoon Tembin landed, wreaked havoc on South Taiwan and left. Premier Sean Chen commissioned Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源), interior minister and head of the Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC), to organize a rescue team in the area. Related officials have also rushed to the site to further assist with disaster relief.
Typhoon Tembin made landfall in Mudan Township of Pingtung County at 5 a.m. yesterday. It then proceeded to head out toward the Taiwan Strait shortly after 7 a.m. Between midnight and 3 p.m., the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) recorded precipitation of 578 millimeters for Hengchunn, 592.5 millimeters for Checheng, and 546 millimeters for Kenting, breaking rainfall records set over the past hundred years.
“This is too incredible,” officer of the Pingtung County Police Bureau Chen Bin-lung said.
The heavy rainfall flooded Hengchun Township, with water levels rising as high as a car in some areas. Hengchun Christian Hospital was drenched in muddy waters as nurses and workers rushed to evacuate medical equipment and patient records. The water rose up to 40 centimeters in the emergency room and blocked ambulance exits. According to hospital officials, all patients were safely evacuated.
A Hengchun Township representative said that most residents in low-lying areas were evacuated before the typhoon hit and others were relocated after they sought emergency assistance.
Up to 20,000 households in Pingtung suffered power failures, while telecommunication disruptions were also reported in the region.
In related news, southern Hualien experienced sudden, tumultuous rainfall around noon, though the weather during the morning was relatively calm. Rivers overflowed, engulfing farmlands, while massive amounts of mud and rock crippled roads.
In response to concerns over pomelo farmlands, Hualien Magistrate Fu Kun-qi (傅崑萁) stated that farmlands only lost 1-2 percent of their fruit.
A watermelon farm located in Shoufeng Village (壽豐鄉) endured harsh damage from the rain, leaving only 20 percent of the fruit unspoiled.
The CWB has said that there is an increased chance that Tembin may turn back to Taiwan after moving toward the Taiwan Strait. The storm might be affected by another typhoon, Bolaven, located off the East Coast of Taiwan, the bureau said.
Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典), chief meteorologist of the CWB, said that Typhoon Tembin might move back to the east of Taiwan. As of 10:15 p.m., the center of Tembin was located at 90 kilometers southeast of Kaohsiung, moving at a speed of 8 kilometers per hour in a west-southwesterly direction. “This will prolong the impact of Tembin on Taiwan. The typhoon might stay until next Thursday,” he said.
Officials urged residents in the southern regions of Taiwan, including Taitung, Pingtung, Hualien and Kaohsiung, to take precautionary measures against heavy rainfall.
Since the typhoon is moving at such a slow pace, while another looms just outside of Taiwan, continuous rainfall could cause serious damage to Southern Taiwan, said CWB official Chen Yi-liang (陳怡良).
As of press time, the CWB has not lifted land warnings in Nantou, Hualien, Taitung, regions south of Yunlin and outlying islands.