Typhoon Fever!

Photos by MJ Klein

I grew up in Florida. When I was a kid, Hurricane Donna scored a direct hit on St. Petersburg, Florida where my family lived. From Wikipedia:

Donna holds the record for retaining “major hurricane” status (category 3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale) in the Atlantic Basin for the longest period of time on record. For nine days, September 2 to September 11, Donna consistently had sustained winds of at least 115 mph. From the moment it became a tropical depression to when it dissipated after becoming an extratropical storm, Donna roamed the Atlantic from August 29 to September 14, a total of 17 days. While crossing the Atlantic Donna briefly achieved Category 5 strength. After its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, Donna moved north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola before crossing the Bahamas. The storm made its first Florida landfall in the community of Marathon, centered on Key Vaca in the middle Florida Keys. At this time, Donna was a Category 4 hurricane with estimated maximum sustained winds of 140 mph and gusts of up to 180 mph, with a minimum central pressure of 27.46 inHg (930 mbar). A storm surge of 13 feet was also reported.[1] The storm crossed into the Gulf of Mexico and its course shifted northward. Donna paralleled the southwest coast of Florida until it made a second Florida landfall between Naples and Fort Myers, again as a Category 4 hurricane. After crossing the Florida peninsula, it continued and moved back out into the Atlantic Ocean near Daytona Beach. Donna headed up the East Coast, and made another landfall at Topsail Beach, North Carolina. It then finished its trip by heading into New England, with a final landfall across Long Island, New York. Donna, unlike Hurricane Charley which followed a similar track in 2004, was a slow-moving storm. Donna dumped 10 to 12 inches of rain in the southern half of Florida, along with about seven inches in the northern half. The three weeks prior to Donna’s landfall produced a 6-7 inch surplus in rain before the hurricane hit, exacerbating the problem.
Hurricane Donna – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Hurricane Donna’s eye went right over our house. To a 4 year old boy, already interested in sciences, this was a remarkable event. My father left our house to help our neighbors (retirees, mostly) manage their wrecked television antennas and take them down before the winds returned.

Throughout my life I have been through at least 7 hurricane hits in the US. For Taiwanese people, this is a regular occurrence, but for those in the US a hurricane can be a life-changing event.

People in Florida are used to storms. Most homes have a “hurricane drawer” full of things like matches, candles, cooking fuel, tape, rope, batteries, etc. for managing hurricanes. Often we have Hurricane Parties but sometimes people take these to the extreme and ignore the dangers. Some have been killed when the water rose and took their homes.

Yesterday was a great day for sky photographs as the approaching typhoon makes its way up past the Philippines and towards Taiwan.

Before the Typhoon

Before the Typhoon

Before the Typhoon
This looks like a scene from Independence Day.

Before the Typhoon

Before the Typhoon
As the sun set, it brought out some pink highlights on the bottom of these clouds.

Before the Typhoon

Before the Typhoon
The shapes and colors were unreal.

Before the Typhoon
Notice the difference in the photo above taken with a similar perspective. The cloud formations
were changing rapidly.

Of course, Hui-chen and I had to have our own Typhoon Party. But it was too windy up at our rooftop cabana. So we settled on the 4th floor balcony instead.

Before the Typhoon
In the cooler: ice, 7-Up and Sang Som Royal Thai Rum.

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  1. Great Pictures MJ.
    It’s good to see you living the hard life there. Great Pictures.

    Sangsom Thai Rum. I have tried a little of it before and remember it being sweet. I was a big rum fan in my younger days, of a very famous Australian rum called “Bunderberg Rum”. The only problem drinking it made you ten foot tall and bulletproof or so you thought.

    I had the fun of seeing cyclones in far north Queensland in Australia and I suppose typhoons are similar.

    Yes, the parties do get out of hand at times and i remember a huge cyclone (JOY a category 5)coming towards Cairns and we had a cyclone party and got drunk beyond recognition under candle light as there wasn’t any power for 4 days.

    It was a few days after the cyclone had hit further North of Cairns we realised how serious it was when they reported they had tens of thousands of body bags on stand-by to be flown in.

    We actually went surfing (a rare event in Cairns as the barrier reef kills any swell) and the police came and removed us from the water and told us they would lock us up if they found us out in the sea again.

    The stupid things you do when you are young.


  2. Brunty, Sang Som does that too of course. it is sweet but not as bad as Mekong rum is. i can’t drink Mekong because its just too sweet.

    yeah, life is hard here in Taiwan, lol.

    some of those people in Florida who lost their lives were old enough to know better, so it’s not just the young people acting foolish!

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