Saturday, 8 August 2015

Typhoon Soudelor

This year's first typhoon to make landfall in Taiwan, Soudelor has had me stuck in the house all morning. I'm afraid to take the dogs to the park because it's so bad. Here in Tainan the typhoon's wind speeds (60-70mph) are relatively mild compared to the north and east of the island (up to 100mph), and yet from my balcony I can see trees getting torn up and knocked over, and the park is totally flooded with rainwater.

From about 3am last night, the dogs began to get scared due to the sound of the wind. However the typhoon is moving north west and will probably have left Taiwan by tommorow, though we may still be suffering plenty of residual wind and rain. I had intended to take the train up to Taichung today, but obviously that's out of the question and a female friend of mine wants to go to Ligui district up in the mountains of Kaohsiung on Tuesday. I'm not sure that's a good idea. Tommorow I might drive up there myself first to have a look at the damage - assuming the roads are still open.

Soudelor is a much bigger, stronger typhoon than was Morakot in 2009, but the key difference is that Morakot just hovered over southern Taiwan for several days resulting in something like 9 feet of rainfall up in the mountains, whereas Soudelor appears to be just passing through and for that reason is unlikely to cause anything like as much destruction as Morakot did. Still, I'm glad I'm down here in the city and not up in the mountains right now. The chief danger is mudslides, which can destroy villages and bring hundreds of tons of sediment into the major reservoirs. We'll find out tommorow and over the course of next week.


The typhoon has now left entirely, and I've been out and about buying stuff and walking the dogs. A large tree near the 24-hour store had been uprooted and completely blocked the road but some guy was already taking a chainsaw to it. News update here; six dead, four missing, a village in Fuxing (Taoyuan) buried by mudslides, and scattered power cuts along the west coast. I've been getting messages on my phone from various friends around Taiwan; everyone is OK but everyone has pictures of broken neon signs, uprooted trees and the like. My impression is that Soudelor may have been as bad as Fanapi was in 2010

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