Sunday, July 21, 2013

Typhoon Morakot - 2009 Season Storm

Everyone in Taiwan  has recent memories of Typhoon Soulik. It was a devastating storm, but people who lived through Typhoon Morakot just 4 years ago in 2009 may tell you that Soulik doesn't compare to Morakot. Statistics confirm that Typhoon Morakot was one of the worst storms to hit Taiwan in recorded history formed on August 2, 2009 as a tropical depression and was named Morakot by the Japanese Meteorological Agency just one day later on August 3. Two days later on August 5, it was upgraded to a Typhoon. Early on August 7, the storm attained its peak intensity with winds of 140 km/h (85 mph 10-minute sustained) according to the JMA. The JTWC reported the storm to be slightly stronger, with winds peaking at 150 km/h (90 mph 1-minute sustained), the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. The storm affected S. Korea, Philippines, China, Japan, the Okinawa Prefecture and of course Taiwan.  The remnants of the typhoon eventually dissipated on August 11 as it passed through the China mainland.
The casualties rose to 461 dead and 192 missing and the cost rose to 3.3 billion U.S. dollars or NT$110 billion. A record 109.3 inches (2,777 mm) of rain fell, topping a previous record of 68.35 inches (1,736 mm). I can't imagine a rainfall in Texas U.S.A. of 109.3 inches. In China (Fujian province) there were 8 people killed because of Morakot, and costing 1.4 billion dollars. Approximately 50,000 soldiers had to assist in finding trapped or missing people in Taiwan alone. It took 3 years of reconstruction to redevelop the area.
As mentioned, Morakot affected the Philippines. Twenty-six people from the Philippines were killed in this storm.
As a result of Morakot, there were several mudslides, some noted in Taiwan. In Shiao Lin, three hundred people were rescued as an entire town was covered by the mudslide but several remained missing. The people saved by the mudslides were rescued by helicopters. Heavy rains triggered a massive landslide in Pengxi, a town in Wenzhou city of eastern China's Zhejian province, and destroyed seven three-story apartment buildings at the foot of a mountain.
It is almost unbelievable what residents of Taiwan and China have dealt with in the past, knowing all too well that it can happen all over again.
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