Saturday, September 1, 2012

Taiwanese Weather: Typhoon Tembin

Typhoon Tembin in the Philippines and bearing down on Taiwan

A week ago Typhoon Tembin blew through Taiwan.  This was an interesting typhoon because it was what is called a recurved Typhoon.  That simply means that it turned back on itself.

The Typhoon came up from the Philippines, crossed the southern tip of Taiwan, spun into the ocean south of Taiwan and then curved and ran up the east coast. It finally moved up between Japan and the mainland and crossed into South Korea before burning itself out.

The typhoon made an impact on Southern Taiwan resulting in six people killed and $200 Million NTD ($ US 6.6 Million) in damage to the agricultural industry.  Because of the devastation caused by Typhoon Morakot in August 2009 the Government put some effort into preparation and emergency relief.

Typhoons are hurricanes that happen on the Pacific Ocean.  In the post, Tyhoon Conson:  Here it Comes, I write about how typhoons are formed.  In the post, Taiwanese Weather:  Monsoons and Typhoons, I show the paths of all the typhoons in 2011.  Take a look at those links if you are interested in typhoons.

In Taoyuan City we’re pretty well protected and sine we are on the west side of the island the typhoons lose a lot of their power crossing the mountains.  Typhoon Saola came through a few weeks ago dumped lots of rain on us, but we felt very little wind.  Typhoon Tembin affected mostly the south of the island, we had little rain and no wind. 

Taoyuan City is in the upper left hand corner of the island
One thing that’s interesting is the reaction of the people to typhoons.  Generally, the government will call for a typhoon day in the affected areas.  Businesses will be closed, and the streets will be pretty empty, because it’s a pretty sure thing the typhoon will hit.  Some areas will be evacuated if there is a threat of mudslides, but for most part life just keeps happening.  People go to work, go to school and you see them riding scooters.  Shops are open, Chinese tourists are seeing the sights and you wouldn’t even know a typhoon is coming.

I remember one typhoon when we first came, Emily and I decided to be storm chasers and went off to find it.  It was the day the typhoon was crossing our area.  We never really did find it.  But we came upon a place, a bridge in Daxi that was filled with tourists.  I couldn’t believe it. 

I guess because growing up in America, we really, kind of fear hurricanes.  When one comes in to the coast there’s extensive evacuation, a run on the stores to stock up food, the news is full of it every day.  Here, life just seems to go on. 

I was thinking that maybe hurricanes are more powerful than typhoons, but a comparison of Tembin to Isaac showed the same wind speeds and rainfall.  The answer might be found in the fact that Taiwan averages about 14 typhoons a year and the US has fewer.  At any rate, things slowed down for a few days and then got right back to normal.

Other posts you may be interested in:

Storm Chasers:  Driving into the Belly of the Beast
Taiwanese Weather:  Monsoons and Typhoons
Typhoon Saola;  How's That Ark Coming Along

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