From:  shan lung
Date:  Mon Jul 5, 2004  7:18 pm
Subject:  OT Taiwan and 7-2 shades of 'Day after Tomorrow'

Folks,

A terrible natural disaster struck Taiwan and no word
of it in the world news so far.

Last week nearing the weekend, there was this typhoon
Mindulle approaching. It did not look like a big
typhoon and was actually eagerly anticipated to break
a 6 month long drought here. Another depression in
the South China Sea at the same time was kind of
overlooked when seen against that typhoon. I thought
Sunday will be a wonderful day after Mindulle passed
by as all the haze in the air would be blown or washed
away leaving sparkling clear sky.

The typhoon came on July 1 bringing rain with it.
Somehow it triggered that depression into a monster
beyond belief. They combined into a stream of clouds
heading to Taiwan.

On July 2, the heaven opened up with lightning and
thunder. With continuous rain so massive as never
been seen here before.

In two days, the mountains of Taiwan were drenched. As
much as 1600++ mm of rain (5.5 feet) fell in Alishan
mountains. Even more rain fell elsewhere. And the
rain is still continuing even now as I write. I lost
track of how much rain has fallen.

Placid clear rivers became coiling gigantic dragons
wreathing in fury laden with soil and rocks smashing
bridges, roads and towns.

Roads became memories and sides of mountains
collapsed. Towns and hamlets in the mountains all
over Taiwan are cut off. Major cities are not spared.

Night after night, scenes of destruction and mayhem
together with the heroic efforts of civil defense
force in dangerous rescues mesmerised me in the horror
of it all.

A new word was coined in Taiwan, "7-2" , for this
terrific horror of the last few days. Almost as if
"Day after Tomorrow" started in Taiwan.

The road up Alishan mountains are cut or disappeared
at 50 over places. Other places are as bad. I will
not even hazard a guess when the roads and bridges can
be repaired.

We will not be going up mountains for a long time.

=====
With warmest regards

Shanlung

 

From:  shan lung
Date:  Tue Jul 6, 2004  11:50 am
Subject:  OT Taiwan 7-2 closing words

Folks,
Thank you all for your expressions of concern for me
and my family. I am sorry that I do not reply to each
individually. Let this be the closing email so we can
return to talk on our fids.

We are all very safe as Chiayi is build on higher
ground. We live in the 5th floor. A small creek run
pass Chiayi city. Swollen to a size beyond belief, it
pose no threat in Chiayi city but a nightmare to
villages downstream.

Very unlike the outlying areas where major rivers from
the mountains passed through.

In addition to the email reports of my trips up the
mountains, I made many other trips there. The folks
there have been super friendly to me and I have been
beckoned over to share their bread and taken their
salt. I drove on their streets and exchanged smiles
and friendly waves with them. Even those I have not
met, they have been people that I feel so much for.

I am sorry to have passed some of my anguish over to
you, made worse when at the point of my writing, not a
word appeared internationally in Internet (other than
in local Taiwan news). Since then, this story did
appear in BBC and a couple others as kindly pointed
out by LadyParrot.

Taiwan is used to typhoons. As much as 6-700mm (2 -
2.5 feet) of rain can be dumped. Those familiar to
typhoons and hurricanes know the rain come in waves
interspersed with periods of no rain or even sunshine.
With 5-7 typhoons a year, we are used to that with
little damage.

7-2 was different scale altogether.
I attached an URL from Taiwan weather bureau.
http://www.cwb.gov.tw/V4e/index.htm

Unfortunately, the records did not extend to 7-2 and
7-3 when the fury really struck. But if you click on
'precipitation' you get the map of taiwan color coded
to show the rainfall for that day. And if you click
on 'day before yesterday', you get 7-4 record. Note
the special scale used. It range from 0 mm to 1500 mm
FOR THAT DAY ALONE.

On the 7-2 and 7-3, the central mountain regions were
in purple scale. My eyes pop as I cycled it. And when
I moved to satellite images and radar images, my heart
sank for my friends living up in the mountains as I
saw what was to come for them.

I thank you again for the concerns you expressed.

Skies are clearing now. But I hope what happened here
is not a precursor of things to come for all of us
here and elsewhere in the world.



=====
With warmest regards

Shanlung

 

From:  shan lung
Date:  Wed Jul 7, 2004  3:50 pm
Subject:  OT Taiwan maps and a few more words on 7-2

Folks,

I have been asked where is Chiayi where we are staying
now. I attached an URL of Taiwan map.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/taiwan.gif

On the map, you will see TAIWAN printed on it.
Beneath the T of TAIWAN, you can see CHIA-I, which is
Chiayi city in its own county. Tsaoling which I
mentioned in
http://www.geocities.com/shanlung9/wtsaolingrevisit.htm
with its complicated road system passing through 3
counties is somewhere where YUN-LIN, CHIA-I and NANTOU
met. The photo URL has been fixed. In it are some of
the most beautiful shots ever taken of Tinkerbell
coming to me on recall.

Kenting is right at the Southern tip of Taiwan and
Taroko Gorge next to Hsin-cheng north of Hua-lien
city on the Eastern side.

Here is another good map of Taiwan, more an image shot
from satellite.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/taiwan/images/taiwan-sat.jpg

I found an article by NewScientist on the 7-2 floods.
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996115

An extract of that article

Worst floods for 25 years hit Taiwan
18:05 06 July 04
NewScientist.com news service

Record flooding in Taiwan, caused by typhoon Mindulle,
could mark the beginning of a worse than normal storm
season in the region, warn experts.

The typhoon struck Taiwan on Saturday, bringing the
worst flooding the island has seen for 25 years.
Mountainous areas recorded 250 centimetres of rain in
the space of five days - more than the island normally
sees in one year - and at least 23 people were killed
in mudslides and raging floodwaters.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The above did not tell the full story. Most of the
rain fell on two days. Taiwan yearly rainfall consist
of 5-7 typhoons and the 'plum' rains and the winter
rains and the 'mau-mau' rains. If you have been
through a hurricane or a typhoon, you know the scale
of the rain of any one of them.

On that two days, we have been hit by the combined
rainfall of 7 typhoons, plus or minus 1 or two. It
was staggering to me and beyond my wildest
imagination.
My descriptions, incredible as it may seem to you,
had been under-statements.

And note, the article said that may only be the
beginning.






=====
With warmest regards

Shanlung
Joy - wife, Tinkerbell - CAG & surrogate daughter
Halftail the Bimbo - beautiful sweet cat but so stupid! - like a bimbo
Zorro - ferret which loves parrot pellets

earlier emails and photo links on Tink -
http://www.geocities.com/shanlung9