Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Here it Comes: Typhoon Conson

I have received the news that a Typhoon is headed our way. This is how I found out. Emily posted it on her Facebook page.


So I looked and sure enough a typhoon is headed towards us from southeast of the Philippines. People have asked me about the difference between a typhoon and and a hurricane. So I am going to do a two-part series on Typhoons. The first part is going to be explanations and information about Typhoons and the second will be our experience with this one…IF in fact, it actually impacts us. Emily is a little frightened, but I’m not for several reasons:

1st. We live in Northern Taiwan; the majority of typhoons have the greatest impact in Southern Taiwan.
2nd: Our house is a safe and comfortable place, with a 1,000 gallon cistern on the roof. So we have water for a while if there is a problem.
3rd: The cistern is gravity fed. If the power goes off we will still have water.
4th. The community has a system in place for early warning of emergencies, and our neighbors care about us and will let us know what we need to know.

So, no big deal…Yeah, right. Emily’s friend Betty (Chinese name is Pei Yu Sun (pronounced Pay You Soon)) had this to say about Emily’s fears

Pei Yu Sun: haha dont be scared its very normal!

She grew up here and so she looks at typhoons like people in Southern California look at earthquakes. So let’s talk Typhoons:

A typhoon basically is a hurricane that takes place in the region of the Philippines or the China Sea.

How are They Formed?

Sunlight warms the water surface, which in turn results in high temperatuires and high humidity in the air just above the surface of the water. The air as it is warmed is inflated in other words the volume of air increases and the warmer air begins to rise or “soar.” As it rises and begins to cool it begins to drop and warms again and rising. Think about what this means as the air rises it leaves a lower pressure area below it. More air is taken into the place and as the air begins to warm again a greater flow of air is pulled into the low pressure area. As these things happen a coumn of air is formed that is of high temperature, light weight and low density (pressure) This is called a Tropical Depression. The air flows from high pressure to low pressure as the air rises and the pressure lessens the air will flow from the high pressure areas surrounding the column of air creating the winds.

In Summer the area of high temperature moves to the north. If you look at the angle of the globe in relation to the sun the area north of the equator receives more direct sunlight causing temperatures to rise in that area. That’s why May, June, July, August and September are warm in the Northern Hemisphere and cold in the Southern Hemisphere. As the air in the Northern hemisphere heats up it pulls the Souhteasterly Trade winds in the Southern Hemisphere up into the Northern Hemisphere. This is the cause of the Monsoon Season. There is head on contact between the Southeasterly and Northwesterly Tarade winds. Causing more air to “soar” once again lowering pressures and drawing more air in. The disturbance of air flow caused by the meeting of the trade winds results in turbulence and can create a vortex, that is copntinually fed by the low pressure vortex draws more air in and increases wind speed. Whne the wind speed reaches or exceeds 62.5 kmh (39 mph) it is upgraded to a typhoon. Average wind speed of a typhoon is 140 kmh (88 mph).

Where do They Start?

If you look at a map of the Pacific Ocean find the islands of Chuuk, that’s eems to be the starting point for most typhoons.


There is a website, www.cwb.gov.tw that is the weather site for taiwan. They track and project the path of all typhoons in the area. This picture shows the direction of the typhoon heading toward us now. The defined points are the actual direction of the typhoon to date. The circles are potential direction in the near future, as you can see this typhoon will miss Taiwan by a good margin probably. Although we may get a lot of rain.

Typical Typhoon Tracks Follow Three Directions:

1. Straight. A general westward path affects the Philippines, southern China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
2. Recurving. Storms recurving affect eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.
3. Northward. From point of origin, the storm follows a northerly direction, only affecting small islands.


Right after our arrival in September 2009, there was a major Typhoon called Ketsana. (Hurricanes are given people names, but typhoons are named after animals, zodiac signs, and other things.) The typhoon cuased huge disaster on the Philippines. 1.09 billion dollars worth of property damage and 747 people killed. The President of the Philippines declared it a National Calamity. The Photo at the top of the page is Typhoon Ketsana.

The typhoon lasted seven days from September 23rd to 30th with sustained wind speeds of 140 kmh (88 mph) and gusts up to 165 kmh (105 mph). People died from floods and landslide.

Two weeks prior to our arrival in Taiwan, there was a typhoon that hit Southern Taiwan floods killed many people and required the military to evacate thousands of people.

This is a video of a typhoon hitting Taiwan in 2008. Looks like fun, huh?

Other posts you may be interested in:

Typhoon Conson:  How Did We Cope?
Storm Chasers:  Driving Into the Belly of the Beast

No comments:

Post a Comment