Typhoon Day

So, I’ve got the day off today.  Typhoon Sapet is currently blowing through here, so everything’s shut down.  Looking out of my window, there are a few brave souls out on the street, but most people are inside, doing safe things like reading the back archives of Schlock Mercenary (at least, those of us who like humorous science fiction comics with large helpings of BLAM).

I hadn’t expected to get the day off, since the typhoon maps I usually check showed this typhoon plowing through the south end of the island, or at most the central part, rather than the north end, where Taipei sits.  (Taipei, or in Hanyu Pinyin Taibei, is a short way of saying Taiwan Bei Shi, which means “Taiwan North City”. That’s the same Bei that’s in Beijing, which means “North Capital”.  The word “Nan” means “south”, so those of you with some linguistic talent can probably now tell me what Nanjing actually means, and can probably also get a good grasp of how a language without a proper alphabet creates something approximating an acronym.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t have anything at all to do with typhoons, which means we should probably get the heck out these parentheses and back to the matter at hand.)

Ahem.

Anyway, the reason why Taipei is shut down is not that the typhoon switched direction but that it is EFFING HUMONGOUS.  Gigantic, even.  Or even ginormous.  It is bigger than the entire island of Taiwan, which, according to the CIA World Factbook, is a little smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined.  However, if you check out this map at Weather.com, you will see that the Sapet is probably big enough to cover the entire area of New England (and level the heck out of it, to boot).  I mean, according to the weather report, we’re looking at winds of up to 90mph in Taipei, on the outskirts of the typhoon, which means that if you’re close enough to the eye of the typhoon, you’ll be fighting gusts of well over 100mph.

Yes, that’s right kids: no playing outside today.  Sorry.

For anyone who has never sat through a tropical cyclone (i.e. a typhoon or hurricane) before, it is kind of odd.  Before I moved here, I had sort of expected that it would be a continuous sort of thing.  That is, the wind and rain would build up to a maximum point, and then start to gradually fall off.  It’s not like that at all.  You’ll get steady rainfall at some points, and then it will slacken unexpectedly, just to come back in torrents a few minutes later.  A few minutes ago there was a lull, which lured a few daring souls out of their houses.  I watched as one woman sprinted back down the street to escape the torrential downpour which had completely drenched her.  (Sorry boys, no picture.  She wasn’t a candidate for a wet T-shirt contest, anyway.  Trust me on this one.)

Hopefully the typhoon will clear out by early tomorrow morning, although it doesn’t show much sign of moving at the moment.  I’m hoping to go bicycling with some friends tomorrow morning.  Usually pre- and post-typhoon weather is quite spectacular, with bright blue skies.

Here’s to weather…good, bad and ugly.

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2 Responses to “Typhoon Day”

  1. Li Says:

    Found your blog because of typhoon Sapet. Enjoy your witty tone. So glad that you like my hometown and deicided to stay here for a little bit longer. Representing all the parents of your students and the city government, I would like to thank you for your earnestness and contribution. Wait, who the hxxx am I? But I really want to thank you for you made me laugh in my kind of disordered life.

  2. Shan Says:

    It’s interesting to see you describe the progression of Typhoon. I guess the Taiwanese just let the TV people do the job of observing the weather, and they rather focus on the special occasion of the “instant noodle feast”! however I imagine there’s no English report on what to expect of the typhoon?

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