(1/2) Formidable Tropical Cyclones: The Typhoon and the Kamikaze (神風)

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Aug 27, 2017 01:22
The other day, Dan, a guy I went to college with, called me and said, “Hey SP! Tell me where you bought your laptop online from… Mine has died because of flooding from the typhoon.”

Dan works in Zhuhai, a Chinese city neighboring Macau and near Hong Kong. The seaside office building he worked in was inundated by mountainous waves. As a guy who lived far inland and had never experienced a typhoon, out of curiosity I asked him, “What is it like to have a typhoon coming over?”

“Not a big deal. We’d received warnings. No work and school. People all holed up, but I could still feel the building mildly shaking. This typhoon made landfall right here, so the damage this time is worse than ever.”

Thanks to modern technology, typhoons can be detected even when they are in their initial stage -- tropical storms. Today, I went on a real-time typhoon monitoring website and was surprised to find that another tropical storm had formed and was moving fast towards south China's coastline. This storm originated (and was in its weaker stage) in the Pacific to the east of the Philippines, and was developing into a larger scale in the South China Sea as it moved northwest, which meant this storm might turn into a typhoon and hit southern China again!

Despite having no typhoon experience, I always stand in awe when seeing how big they can be on satellite pictures -- as expanse as a couple provinces put together! I always wonder how people in ancient times prepared for them. They had no such a thing as geostationary satellites to monitor the formation and paths of typhoons. Though the fishermen might accumulate some experience through observing the horizon, irregular sea vortices, etc., their preparedness was surely far from sufficient and could not ride out disasters as we do today.

A typhoon also changed history. I heard as warships sent by Genghis Khan were heading off to attack Japan, they were all wrecked by a typhoon. The Japanese called that typhoon kamikaze (Devine Wind). During World War II, the Japanese dubbed their airforce this name as they hoped it would bring them good luck.

[1] Chna's real-time typhoon monitoring website: http://typhoon.zjwater.gov.cn/default.aspx
[2] The typhoon Haiyan captured by a satellite





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