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Heavy rain causes at least two deaths in Taiwan

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-03 11:23

TAIPEI - At least two people had been confirmed dead and three others missing after heavy rain hit large parts of Taiwan with the arrival of a strong southwesterly airstream Friday.

The heavy rain caused widespread disruption on the island, trapping people in mountainous regions, and causing the cancellation of flights and buses, as well as the closure of schools.

Precipitation in some areas of New Taipei City reached over 600 mm after it was hit by extremely torrential rain, data from the local meteorological station showed, leading to the evacuation of more than 250 people with about 150 accommodated in temporary shelters.

Extremely torrential rain is defined as accumulated rainfall of 500 mm or more within 24 hours while torrential rain is defined as accumulated rainfall of more than 350 mm.

Operations at Taipei Songshan Airport were suspended for two and a half hours, leaving at least 130 flights canceled, delayed, or diverted. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport also canceled 19 flights and suspended ground operations when it issued a thunderstorm warning at noon.

A total of 12 districts in New Taipei and Keelung cities are on flood alerts and several schools in the New Taipei City have suspended classes.

In southwest Taiwan's Chiayi county, over 380 residents in a village were trapped due to traffic disruption caused by sudden surges of water levels in rivers.

The island's weather bureau extended its extremely torrential rain warning to Kaohsiung City and Hualien, Nantou, Chiayi and Pingtung counties Friday night, after it issued similar warnings for the northern cities of Keelung and New Taipei earlier in the day.

The southwesterly airstream is expected to leave Sunday, but rain is likely to continue until Monday, according to the island's weather bureau.

The bureau Thursday issued a heavy rain warning for eight cities and counties in central and southern Taiwan, saying the public should watch out for sudden downpours, thunder, strong winds and landslides.

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