Typhoon Morakot's Potential Record 24-hour Rainfall on Taiwan

August 12, 2009: Reports from various international news media (brought to our attention by meteorologist Tye Parzybok) reported that "The tropical cyclone, Morakot, unleashed record rains of 83 inches in 24 hours in Taiwan, causing what officials say is the worst flooding in half a century. The number of known dead in Taiwan is 15, with 32 were severely injured. Those figures do not include potential landslide victims." See, for example: http://airamerica.com/blog/2009/aug/10/typhoons-ravage-asia

Investigation by Laura Sheng, Chief, International Affairs Section, Planning Division, Central Weather Bureau, Taiwan suggests that the media either misinterpreted or misreported the value. Ms. Sheng states, "The maximum rainfall in Taiwan during Typhoon Morakot's invasion, according to the CWB's records, is 1403 mm (55.2 inch) in 24 hours (0:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. TST August 8) at Weiliaoshan in Pingtung County, and 2327 mm (91.6 inch) in 48 hours (0:00 a.m. TST August 8 to 11:59 p.m TST August 9) at Alishan, Chiayi County."

It is likely that the media somehow used a forty-eight hour value as representative of the twenty-four hour value. The present 24-hour rainfall record for La RĂ©union island still holds.