Thursday, September 2, 2010

Typhoon Kompasu's Impact

Noticing gray skies outside? Wind and rain blowing stronger than usual? Yep, that would be a typhoon blowing by Korea. Out here they call it a typhoon because the weather system forms in the Western Pacific.

Back in Florida (and other States alike) they call it a hurricane. Whatever you want to call these storm systems they bring a lot of rain and wind which create a lot of damage.

The difference of experiencing a strong storm system like this in Korea is the amount of preparedness and reaction from the government and public. Down at the tip of South Korea, places like Jeju Island and Busan buckled down for the storm. Flights were cancelled to Japan and I bet a lot of people stayed home or at least tried to. It makes sense that these coastal regions prepared for the worst of the storm. But what about us folks up here in or near Seoul. One interesting fact is that:

The eye of the typhoon is expected to cross over or very near to Seoul bringing heavy rain and flooding to the city.
 Thankfully the typhoon was only a category 1 when it hit so the expected damage wasn't going to be too severe. Yet one has to ask... did people stay home from work? Did parents keep their kids home? Did schools cancel?

The answer is widely no, however I am sure some individuals chose to stay home. For those who went to work or school they were greeted with storm damage and impaired train service.
bringing downpours and gusts that paralyzed metro operations in the Seoul metropolitan area
With almost all above-ground sections of Seoul's subway lines out of service, street trees toppled and winds blowing at a speed of over 20 meters per second, drivers, commuters and students were forced to undergo the worst transportation chaos in decades.
I don't live in Seoul but I got the news of it from JH as he drove himself to work. Mostly telling me to be careful and that things were crazy in Seoul, with stuff "flying everywhere." I told him to drive safely and watch out.

As for things on my end the timeliness of events was somewhat humorous.
  • 8:00 AM: (As I was getting ready to go out the door). Text message in Korean from my school. All I could make out was that it was from the school and about the typhoon.
  • 8:03 AM: Phone call from my foreign coworker. She got a call from the Princess telling us that we can come in at 11am.
  •  8:05 AM: Phone call from the Princess retelling me what my coworker told me.
  • 8:15 AM: Second text message in Korean from the school. This time with "10:30" in it. 
  • 8:16 AM: Phone call from the Princess telling me that it was a mistake and that only the kids can come in at 11am. I was to get there as soon as possible. I said, "Ok I will try not to get killed." Her response, "Yes come here please." (she didn't get it)
  • 8:25 AM: Leave my house
  • 9:00 AM: Arrive at truly broken umbrella later.
Turns out the Principal was really upset the teachers interpreted the text message as for them too. I made it to school pretty safely without anything falling on my head, but I will need to replace my umbrella now, which takes the shape of a triangle when opened.

I know I am safe but hope other folks out there are doing okay. Certainly I saw a lot of debris on my walk to school like tree branches and a lot of roof shingles.

Now things have calmed down outside yet it is still cloudy and a little rainy. I wonder if this will be the last typhoon of the season.

As we ate lunch the new coteacher (man) talked about how dangerous it is to be outside during a typhoon here. Telling me that people were experiencing signs falling on them. I said, "Of course, because there are too many signs on buildings here." Followed with, "I hope this means people will think about just having one sign on a building."

A commenter on CNN remarked:
I live just outside of Seoul and I'm happy to give a local update of what happened..since CNN did Heavy winds of up to 90 mph early this morning toppled trees, caused power outages and most dangerous of all, caused falling slabs of concrete and heavy metal signs from buildings to fall off. 
Note to self: When wind is blowing at 90mph don't walk right next to a building with a heap of signs on it.

1 comment:

  1. Meanwhile, here in Daegu, we had some rain last night, but all day today we had sun, blue skies, and puffy white clouds. And no, I am not kidding.


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