So that happened…
So, Typhoon Morakot is gone. He took his toys and went to China. But in its wake lie record flooding, more than a quarter of a billion dollars US in agricultural losses, several people dead, hundreds missing, and more wounded. The typhoon that no one really seemed too worried about initially has made its mark and won’t be soon forgotten.
That was something. As I said in my last post, in New Orleans, we would typically evacuate for hurricanes. But not here. Where would we go? Well, as it turns out, we could have gone to Taipei and had ourselves a nice little breezy weekend. It’s really baffling (though I guess it shouldn’t be that shocking, given my experience with how these giant circular storms can work) – even though the typhoon turned northwest and went straight through Taipei, it was southern Taiwan that received the harsh, terrible brunt of the storm’s wrath. In fact, from what I’ve heard from people who were there, Taipei barely got any rain or damage. Just some cooler temperatures, some decent wind, and a shower every now and then.
But southern Taiwan is a different story. I’m sure a lot of you have read the news stories or seen the video or whatnot. Most of the horribleness is east of here, but some is not that far away. Pingtung County, which is only maybe an hour away, had over a meter of rain. The whole south experienced its worst flooding in at least 50 years. Some parts, the worst flooding ever.
Here’s the most disturbing video from the weekend. This is a hotel in Taitung County in the East; it’s foundation was eroded so much by the storm that it just collapsed into a lake – a lake created by the typhoon, no less.
My personal experience obviously wasn’t quite that dramatic. The hostel didn’t collapse, and Kaohsiung seemed like it was pretty much back to life yesterday. But it was still a surreal experience. Like I said before, it was like having the stuff you always see on the Weather Channel right on your front porch. Literally. The wind howled through the hostel for two-and-a-half straight days; the rain never let up, just went from hard and fast to harder and faster and back again.
But it’s over, at least in Taiwan. Still, over the past two days, we’ve had nothing but overcast skies and quite a few torrential downpours. Here’s hoping that one day soon we’re back to sunshine, unbearable heat, constant sweating, and two showers a day. At this point, that would be quite the welcome change.