Saturday, July 13, 2013

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How to survive a typhoon in Taipei

7/13/2013 Taiwan Explorer
Typhoon Soulik is now far away from Taipei, and fortunately for us who live here it didn't cause that much damage to the city. Places south of Taipei like Hsinchu were less fortunate, Soulik left its mark on them, and there's a lot of cleanup work waiting to be done in the upcoming days (you can see images of the destruction here). Some of my readers have asked me how do people in Taipei prepare for a typhoon, and today I want to talk about that a little. Before I came to Taiwan I was a little bit scared of typhoons. I thought they were something like tornados, I imagined they would be combing over the surface, and completely destroying everything in their way. Typhoons are not as bad as that, they are basically torrential rains accompanied with strong winds. They can cause huge floods and mudslides in the countryside, so if you're living in a small town outside Taipei you might be in a greater danger than in the city itself. In Taipei we usually have a lot of uprooted trees, knocked down scooters, broken roofs and windows, parts of the city can get flooded, too. It really depends on how strong the typhoon is. If you're living in a new condo like me you would probably not be afraid, but if you're living in an old building with a leaking roof, it would definitely not be a very pleasant experience. The good thing is that local governments order to close down schools, offices and factories, so everyone can get home on time and ensure their safety. Usually people buy more groceries before a typhoon hits, because most food shops and stalls will be closed, so eating at home will be unavoidable (people in Taipei love to eat out).

Let me show you some of the photos I took yesterday, a few hours before Soulik arrived:

The morning was beautiful: Blue sky covered the whole of Taipei.

People were going to work as if nothing special is about to occur.

In the afternoon grey clouds started to gather in the south eastern part of Taipei.

The wind became stronger, the humidity increased, people began to go home.

In the morning the city government announced that we could leave work at 2pm, which was great, because we got a half day off for free. And there was no need to rush home in the last minute - it was very reasonably done this year, I have to commend them for that.

At 2pm I left work and went to buy some supplies for the weekend - it was crowded.

At around 3pm the first typhoon drizzle has arrived. The girl was well prepared.

Cheap plastic raincoats prove to be very useful, if you're on a scooter.

The drizzle continued until the evening, humidity was nearly unbearable.

The typhoon didn't spoil this bamboo vendor's mood. I saw him on the way home.

This is how it looked like in the late afternoon. Dark grey clouds covered my hood.

My wife and I were watching the typhoon updates all evening.

The real typhoon appeared in the late evening, it was already dark outside. Due to the strong winds the rain was continuously splashing on the window, and that's all that we've seen and heard from this typhoon. We had a good rest, and a good sleep.

The next morning was calm and clear, it felt like a typhoon never happened.

This was how I experienced it. How is your typhoon weekend so far?