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Season's first plum rains forecast to arrive May 4

TAIPEI -- The two-month rainy season in Taiwan will start this year with the arrival of the first plum rains on May 4, the Central Weather Bureau said Wednesday.

Compared with previous years, however, next month may be slightly warmer and drier, while June is expected to be more humid and cooler, said Cheng Ming-dean, director of the bureau's Weather Forecast Center.

During the plum rain season, peculiar to East Asia and thus named because it coincides with the ripening of plums, frontal systems tend to linger over Taiwan, bringing severe thunderstorms and heavy rain for days at a time.

This year, the most intense rainfall is expected from late May to early June, forecasters said.

Chances of torrential rainfall will be especially high in June, according to Cheng.

People should be on the alert and avoid outdoor activities during severe thunderstorms, the weather bureau advised.

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