TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Three people in Taiwan perished as a result of heavy rains spawned by a destructive tropical storm, the government said Friday.

Tropical Storm Kong-Rey battered the island Thursday, dumping more than 500 millimeters (19 inches) of rain on the heavily populated west coast and causing widespread flooding.

The government's emergency operations center said one of the fatalities occurred when a man in Pingtung county in Taiwan's far south drowned after being thrown into a river from his skidding motorbike. Farther to the north in Yunlin country, one woman was electrocuted in her home after heavy flooding and another woman drowned.

Kong-Rey skirted the island's east coast on Thursday before heading north toward Japan.

Particularly hard hit in Taiwan were the large west coast cities of Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung, where flooding in some areas reached second-story levels. Officials evacuated a total of 3,600 residents and cancelled some train services.

Kong-Rey is the second major storm to hit Taiwan this month. Last week, a severe tropical storm dumped up to a meter (39 inches) of rain on the southern part of the island. High winds caused the cancellation of scores of international flights and in conjunction with the rain led to the disruption of high speed rail service between the capital of Taipei and Kaohsiung.

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