Monday, July 22, 2013

Typhoon Soulik: A Foul Wind Blows into Taiwan

Typhoon Soulik on a collision course with northern Taiwan
We’ve lived here now about four years, and we have weathered a number of typhoons.  But we have been surprised at how mild they were.  A typhoon is the same as a hurricane but instead of being on the Atlantic Ocean, a typhoon takes place on the Pacific.  Most of the typhoons begin around an island called Chuuk and beeline toward the China Sea.

Usually, the nations of South China, Viet Nam, The Philippines and, of course, Taiwan are the places where typhoons hit.  The most recent typhoon to impact Taiwan was called Typhoon Soulik. 

I always look forward to typhoons with a kind of excitement.  We’re not used to extreme weather in Southern California.  But mostly I’ve been disappointed by the actual blandness of the typhoons.  Once, my daughter Emily and I took the car and went looking for the typhoon, but we were disappointed.  We never even found evidence that much of anything had happened.  In fact, we came across a bridge that was loaded with tourists at the very time the typhoon was supposed to be wreaking havoc on our lives. 

So we were expecting more of the same with Typhoon Soulik; maybe a bit of rain, some scattered winds, hot humid air.  That was our experience with a typhoon, but this one was different.  This was the first time we’d experienced a “Typhoon Day.”  That’s when the government closes down work and school and tells everyone to stay home.  Of course, people leave work and drive immediately, uh to the mall where they hang out until the storm passes.  They were expecting landfall about three o’clock actual landfall was closer to six pm.  Then the winds started to strengthen and gust.  It started to rain and the typhoon roared into town.

According to the Central Weather Bureau website,, the winds were expected to reach speeds of 186 km/hr (114 mph) with gusts up to 226 km/hr (140 mph).  In fact for a time the typhoon was classified as a “Super Typhoon.”  I’m not sure what the actual wind speeds were because our power went down during the typhoon and stayed down for about seven hours. 

The winds were so loud that it was unbelievable.  It was like living at the airport as the winds gusted up and literally screamed past the window.  My window was on the backside of our building, away from the wind.  My daughters’ rooms were facing the storm and the winds actually drove water through the tiny spaces between the windows and the walls.

It was massive it even caused our apartment to rock, a bit.  It was wild.  My thoughts are okay, now I’ve experienced one.  I can go back to bland weather.  Yeah, right…I have to say, IT WAS COOL!  Taiwanese people are pretty relaxed about typhoons.  I heard scooters going by in the wildest moments of the typhoon. Amazing!

There was quite a bit of damage in our neighborhood from the typhoon.  It was mostly broken trees or trees that were knocked down.  There were a number of construction fences that were knocked down and just plain blown away The next day, though they were hard at work cleaning up the mess.  They even mobilized the military to do cleanup work.


Other posts you may be interested in:

Here it Comes:  Typhoon Conson
Taiwanese Weather:  Monsoons and Typhoons
Storm Chasers:  Driving into the Belly of the Beast

Photo Credit:  Satellite Photo:

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