Flood victims swept away in “a year’s worth of rainfall”
Taiwan has been hit hard by Typhoon Morakot. Fourteen are dead, 51 officially missing, and hundreds more unaccounted for. Bridges and even damns have been swept away by "unseen" amounts of rainfall, displacing over a million people. A meteorologist visiting the country filmed the following footage on his camera. Read his account...
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Taiwan has been hit hard by Typhoon Morakot. Fourteen are dead, 51 officially missing, and hundreds more unaccounted for. Bridges and even damns have been swept away by "unseen" amounts of rainfall, displacing over a million people. A meteorologist visiting the country filmed the following footage on his digital camera.
Typhoon Morakot swept into Taiwan on Friday after leaving over 20 people dead in the Philippines. The result of 2.5m rainfall and wind speeds of 85 mph, the typhoon toppled a six storey hotel, left cars submerged under water and sparked huge landslides, leaving the whereabouts of one entire village unknown. It moved on to China's east coast on Sunday afternoon, where over a million people have been evacuated in face of 120 mph gales.
“The most rainfall I've ever seen and will probably ever see in my life”
Nick Engerer, 23, is a graduate meteorologist from Ohio, US. He was travelling with a fellow storm chaser when the storm hit Taiwan. The following videos were filmed by him and uploaded to YouTube.
As a meteorologist this is the most rainfall I've ever seen and will probably ever see in my life. Over two metres of rainfall in a few days - that's almost as much as Taiwan normally has in a year! In a thunderstorm you see around 3 - 4 inches (7.5 - 10 cm), which we consider a lot. In a hurricane it's around 20 - 30 inches (50 - 75 cm), which is loads. So 8 - 9 feet (around 1 metre) is, as far as I know, something so far unseen.
If this had happened in Europe or the US the damage would have been far greater. Taiwan is experienced in both heavy rainfall and strong earthquakes. It's an island with steep mountains, meaning that once a typhoon arrives there, it can keep raining by feeding from the warm waters surrounding the island and therefore stay powerful for some time. When the typhoon moved on to China it was not as hard-hitting because the circulation of water was weakened.
The infrastructure is superb here. The sewers are good, the bridges are strong. Because typhoons have been handled well in the past, people aren't scared when a typhoon is on its way. It's very unusual for people to die and everyone here is really shocked that so many lives have been lost.
This bridge, east of Chiayi City in the Alishan mountains (in central-eastern Taiwan), was swept away on Saturday night. Once a bridge is washed away there are whole towns/ cities with no access to the mainland. Those cities are gradually being evacuated by zip wires and it's probably going to take one or two years to replace all the bridges.
There's a 400-metre span missing from this bridge southwest of Kaohsiung City (southwest Taiwan). This event unfortunately claimed the lives of several people as the bridge collapsed in sections, leaving one car stranded on a part which was then washed away. The reason they're so fast to rebuild the road (at the end of the clip) is because it leads to a big industrial area including a petroleum refinery.
It blew my mind when I saw this damn in the Bajhang River washed away. The amount of water that it takes to wash away such an enormous chunk of concrete is unthinkable. Plus, when a damn gives way it puts a lot of pressure on the next one, so there's little doubt what happened downstream. What's sure is that Taiwan was hit really badly, and we're only just now beginning to hear about all the death and tragedy."