Friday, September 26, 2008

Signal 8, we all stay home

It's been an unexpectedly busy typhoon season.  In just a month of school, we've had two days off because the signal 8 has been raised.  The first day off was the Friday of our first week of school.  The second was just two days ago on Wednesday.  
* * * *
Let me back up and give you a short weather lesson.  When there is an approaching typhoon, the Hong Kong Observatory classifies them in one of three ways:  T1, T3 or T8.  During a T1, the weather can be quite windy with the occasional sprinkle.  During a T3, the winds pick up and the little kids stay home from school.  This year, since Michael is in R2, he is able to go to
 school in a T3.  Ella, on the other hand, has to stay home.  During a T8, schools are closed if the signal is raised before 6 a.m. and if it is raised after the start of the school day, students are sent home and businesses close.
* * * *
A lot of hype was given to Typhoon Nuri, which hit us directly at the end of August.  It raised the signal to a 9!  It did some damage, especially to the north side of Hong Kong, but what we experienced on our side of the island was minimal.  There was even a man who drowned - he thought he'd disregard all the warnings given and go swimming in the storm swells anyway.

This time, Typhoon Hagupit hit us indirectly, but it was a far more violent storm.  By the end of the school day on Tuesday, all students were sent home and activities cancelled as a result of the T3 and an expected 8 to be raised anywhere between 4 and 6 p.m.  We had to reschedule my 20 week scan as well.  We got home early at about 4 and already noticed that winds had picked up.  We decided before we had to batten down the hatches, to walk quickly down to our beach to see what was happening.  Were we surprised to see our normally waveless beach a turbulent mess of 10 ft swells!  We didn't linger too long and headed back up to weather the storm inside.  
Hagupit was a loud one.  The wind howled all night - far more than in the last typhoon - rattling windows and doors. Big full grown trees swayed like they were twigs.  We changed the kids sleeping arrangements (Buddy on his mattress on the floor and Ella in on our floor) to keep them safe from the windows.  

When we woke the next morning, we were able to fully appreciate the wrath of Hagupit (which Eva told me is a tagalog word which means very fast).  I went out to take some photos before the rain came.

Our street was covered in leaves, branches and twigs.  Big trees were down, including this one across the street from us.  

There was at least a foot of sand covering the entire paved area of the beach up by the showers.  And the waves were still churning.  

Here is Stanley Beach Road.  There was a big tree down blocking this road over night.  The city had to come and clear it as soon as it fell.
And here is our road littered with fallen branches and leaves.

Amidst all the turmoil, a small bird's nest, just outside our window, managed to cling on and survive.  I'm sure its inhabitants were long gone even before the typhoon hit, but it will make a solid home to a new family.  Isn't nature amazing?

Needless to say, school was called off as the damage needed to be assessed and cleared and it was still quite dangerous to be out given the T3 winds and rain the following day.


Shan said...

Oh the sound of the wind! I remember when Luke and I were stuck in Cyclone Heta (category 5) in Samoa. The sound of the wind was like nothing I had ever heard. It was unrelenting and all-consuming.

Shan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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