Monday, September 17, 2012

Typhoon Sanba

Another typhoon made school a shade more interesting today! Typhoon Sanba, one of the strongest of the 2012 season, made landfall last night and strengthened continuously until this afternoon. Although there seemed to be more media hype about Bolaven, the underwhelming storm we got three weeks ago, Samba was actually pretty rough. You see, while Bolaven was menacingly large, it managed to miss the Korean peninsula and swept upward off the west coast without making landfall. But Sanba was a small yet powerful typhoon that cut straight across the southeastern part of the country. It passed right through my province and wreaked havoc in many areas.

From what I saw on the news tonight, most of the damage was due to flooding. There was even footage from Masan, which is the southwestern district of my city, Changwon, and is fairly close to sea level. The roads were completely submerged. Elsewhere, crop fields and orchards were ruined, landslides occurred, roofs blew away, and semis toppled over onto cars. That giant sand wall I saw on Haeundae Beach on Saturday? It has been obliterated.

But I didn't know any of that this morning. So today, although I had to go to school (which is almost never canceled for my students, who live in a dormitory on campus and can get to their classes in complete safety), I wasn't worried in the slightest. Typhoon? NBD. I've got a crappy umbrella, I'll be fine. Ha. Fortunately, my host father drove me to campus to save me a soaked and soggy walk; once I got to my office, I felt secure. The power didn't even go out once! Throughout the morning, the wind grew stronger and stronger, until it was blowing water into the rooms from the cracks between the windows and the window sills. That was something I hadn't seen before... In fact, roofs and walls at the school were leaking all over the place. But there wasn't any flooding.

I taught three classes today, normal for a Monday. And to my surprise, by the time I finished in the afternoon, the storm had passed in its entirety, and I even saw bits of blue sky in the distance.

So that's that for the third typhoon I've lived and taught through in Korea. I'm kind of hoping that there won't be any more, because they really are a nuisance (at the most benign) and an alarming catastrophe (at their worst). And it's almost autumn, so I want it to feel like that now.

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