Friday, September 25, 2009

Typhoon Koppu

Our swine flu vacation was over but the kids still had more time off. Not only is it flu season here in Hong Kong, it is also typhoon season. Typhoon season typically is late summer through early fall here, with plenty of opportunity to disrupt the school day. The occasional day off of school is fine but after the previous week of no school, everyone was getting at little agitated. My kids even asked about “virtual school,” something that was set up for them during the week off. While we had no virtual school, everyone was happy, maybe even relieved, to do a few math worksheets that day.

Typhoon Koppu, our first typhoon since our return to Hong Kong after the summer, slammed into us late on a Monday night. Typhoon Koppu reach T-8 status at Monday night at 6pm. Activities were cancelled that afternoon and some businesses shut down early. The kids and I wandered around the deserted playground at our apartment building, enjoying the gusting winds. Hong Kong has been very hot and humid this year, breaking all sorts of temperature records. The winds and the cloud cover brought some relief to the relentless heat and we loved it. Almost immediately as the clock turned to six, the pre-storm calm ended and rain started down on us. We ran back to our apartment to watch from there.

While many storms are all warning and no real storm, this was different. The winds howled around our apartment all through the night. Thunder and lightning storms raged around us with Hong Kong Island recording 13,000 lightning strikes in a two hour period. We tried to clear the plants and BBQ off our balcony but were only partially successful. It was almost too windy to open the balcony door. The kids went to bed and sleep through the night. Most adults appeared to be up that day based on the number of emails and instant responses I got while on-line.

At 6 am the next morning, Typhoon Koppu was still rated as a T-8 typhoon. Schools and businesses remained closed. Views out of our apartment showed roads empty of traffic and broken branches everywhere. By 10:30 that morning, the signal was lowered to T-3. Businesses re-opened but schools did not. As usual we made our way down to the pool, noticing lots of broken glass along the way. Looking up we also saw glass balconies in our apartment building that had been blown out. Management had very quickly covered these holes with plywood. Tori noted, with authority, that typhoons usually break windows in Pacific Place, the apartment across the street from us and a bit closer to the water but not the Manhattan’s. It was a humbling moment. All these days off of school have lulled us into a state of sustained caution with no actual danger. The broken glass was a reminder that typhoon season, and even the flu season, are indeed real.


Blogger alberta1 said...

This was an impressive picture. Reminds me when a bird hit a slideing door, not quite as dramatic but the door still crumbled. Hard to compare to typhoons in Hong Kong. Love, Grandma

5:09 PM  

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