Nesat – our first typhoon

Waking up this morning and peeking outside, you’d hardly believe 150km winds were sweeping over us just a handful of hours earlier. Actually going outside, however, was an entirely different story.

The first casualty of Nesat was our papaya tree, which had fallen before dawn yesterday. I say “our” papaya tree, as it’s right outside our kitchen window, but really it’s the community’s — a fact made ever evident by the endless stream of people who walk up and grab some unripe fruit while I’m washing dishes or preparing dinner.

The wind continued to pick up for most of yesterday until it hit hard mid-afternoon. Our water was shut off with little explanation, and while our power flickered the whole duration, friends of ours had their power completely cut off.

Here’s a little video shortly after the typhoon made landfall on the island, it got steadily worse for a couple hours after this:

Business Week: Typhoon Nesat, the strongest to hit China this year, forced the evacuation of 300,000 people, grounded flights and closed markets as it swept past Hong Kong, slammed into the Chinese island of Hainan and headed to Vietnam.

The typhoon, which killed at least 39 people in the Philippines earlier this week, made landfall in Hainan province at 2:30 p.m. local time yesterday with winds as fast as 151 kilometers (94 miles) an hour, the China Meteorological Administration said. In Hong Kong, the storm felled trees, ripped bamboo scaffolding from buildings and forced the city’s stock exchange to halt trading after the highest storm warning in two years was issued. Trading will resume today.

Shortly before dinner the wind died down, the rain stopped and everyone went outside to stretch their legs. The community was a mess. Bits of trees and random building stuff from the construction going on down the road were all over the place. Our community is full of purchased-but-not-lived-in apartments, and it appears someone’s window was left open, which caused a pane of glass to blow out and shatter all over the road.

Mild, by comparison, wind and rain returned after dinner but by late evening it was quiet again. This morning I took Casey and Button out for a walk around the neighbourhood, as is our routine, and was surprised at how much damage the typhoon had caused to the trees both in and around our community.

Here are some photos — apologies for the graininess, I only had my iPod with me:

The road in the photos above is a road a block or so away from our place. The road right outside our community was completely blocked off by fallen debris. I am guessing that most of the trees that have fallen are trees that have been planted for aesthetics, and perhaps aren’t local, or just didn’t have enough time to properly lay down roots. Interestingly, all the recently planted palm trees out on the newly constructed coastal road north of our community were still standing.

The clean-up crews are out in full-force, our water is trickling out of the tap now (unfortunately not quite strong enough to get hot water running, so cold showers for us), dragonflies are filling the air en masse, and the sun is doing its best to reappear.

Only 96 hours until Nalgae arrives.

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