Stormy Weather

Typhoon Bolaven, via

"Life is bare,gloom and mis'ry everywhere
Stormy weather
Just can't get my poor self together,
I'm weary all the time
So weary all the time."

- "Stormy Weather" 
by Harold Arlen and Ted Kohler

Let me just start by saying that my last post - about how it had been raining constantly a lot since I returned from home leave - was not supposed to be the first one in a series.  It was my intention to write a single light-hearted post about the disappointingly rainy summer weather and then get back to whining about other things  blogging about everyday life in Seoul.

Naturally, I was not thinking at the time about typhoons.

Typhoons - which are sort of the Asian version of a hurricane - are well-known to me from my childhood in Thailand and Taiwan - especially Taiwan, which is an island and therefore seems to get the worst of it every time. Typhoons were so common that we had regular 'typhoon drills' in my elementary school;  when the sirens sounded, we'd all drop what we were doing and crawl under our desks - presumably to protect us from flying debris.  We all thought it was great fun as well as a nice break in an otherwise dull school day.

Almost as soon as the typhoon hit, the power would go out (you lost power all the time in Asia back then anyway, and a storm meant it could be out for days) and we would weather out the rest of it lit only by a few flickering candles or the big green flashlight that my father always kept at the ready. For whatever reason (probably because my parents always made me feel that we were perfectly safe in our house and that the stuff going on outdoors was just fascinating entertainment) I absolutely loved standing at the window and watching the storm rage all around us:  debris flew, limbs tore and broke, and the palm trees were blown almost parallel to the ground with each gust of wind.

Having had ample rain last summer - but no actual typhoons - I suppose MrL and I just sort of forgot that typhoons are a fairly common occurrence in Asia between May and October.  And one is heading our way.

Typhoon Bolaven has been building in strength for the last few days and is - if the meteorologists are to be believed (and why shouldn't they be?) an enormous storm roughly the size of France.  France, people!

Having done a bunch of damage in Okinawa already, it's now dusted off its hands, tucked its shirt back into its trousers, smoothed its hair, and set its sights on Korea in the manner of the deranged killer in a horror movie who has just violently taken out a roomful of screaming teenagers and now calmly turns to face the pretty coed trembling in the corner, ready to unleash some more grisly vengeance.

From what I can glean from alarmist CNN online news articles and the( far-more sanguine) English-language press in Korea, this storm is  full of rain and extremely windy. For us in downtown Seoul, what this means is possible flooding, loss of power (yes, I am charging my laptop and my Kindle) and lots of potentially-deadly flying projectiles (traffic lights, hubcaps, tree branches, tiny dogs.) Schools across the city are closed tomorrow, due to safety concerns (Son#2=very pleased.) Here on the 14th floor of our high-rise, flooding is not a major concern, and I am guessing that there won't be quite as many traffic lights and tiny dogs flying around up here either. I suppose - theoretically - that the wind could blow in all of our windows (and, yes, the walls of our living room are more or less all windows) but given the way the windows are built (and the extra-stout glass that's used) that doesn't seem very likely....I hope. That leaves only a power cut to worry about, and, while it would certainly be sticky and hot and dark and inconvenient (not to mention all of the food in the refrigerator going south,) it's not anything life-threatening.

In an interesting parallel, a number of our friends and family in the South and on the Gulf Coast of the U.S. are keeping their eyes on Hurricane Isaac even as we twiddle our thumbs waiting for Bolaven to arrive, so I've been keeping my eyes on both the Atlantic and the Pacific weather reports.

In the meantime, though, the sun is shining,skies are blue, the view of Namsan is clearer than I think I've ever seen it, and we're enjoying it while we can.

See you on the other side.

The calm before the storm:  blue skies and sunshine over Namsan mountain


Unknown said…
I chuckled at your description of the it!
Great description...take care! I presume it means a day off work for you too...I'll be watching the weather reports. Barring sand storms, every day brings pretty much the same weather here!
Trish said…
France! Oh my! Maybe it will just take a rest and smoke a Gauloises?
MsCaroline said…
@Tracy: Thanks - it really did seem like it was doing that, though!

Circles: Yes, I spent the day at home, waiting for the worst - which never came - I actually could have used the time at work to prepare for the first day of school tomorrow. Let's hope the effects on China are just as minimal!

Trish - it's looking like it did exactly that - we spent the day tensely watching the sky for what turned out to be just a bit of a windstorm and some light rain. I suppose we should be grateful it wasn't much worse, right?
BavarianSojourn said…
I am glad it was kind to you... Loved your description! :)
BavarianSojourn said…
I am glad it was kind to you... Loved your description! :)

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