Posted by: mrpeatie | August 11, 2009

Mind Boggling Rain Totals

While the Atlantic basin remains quiet in terms of tropical activity, the Pacific was highly active over the last couple of weeks. Typhoon Morakot formed on August 2 about 1000 km east of the Philippines. The storm increased in intensity and passed over the Philippines before moving over Taiwan and eventually into the mainland of China.

Its impact on Taiwan was record breaking. Rainfall totals in some areas exceeded 90 inches in 48 hours breaking all previous records for the island nation and coming close to breaking the world record set in 1952 on Reunion Island (98.42 inches in 48 hours). To put that into perspective, Charleston averages about 52 inches of rain…per year. The impact of that much water falling over a short period of time is severe as deadly flooding, mudslides, and fatalities were widespread. Images of Morakot’s devastation can be seen on The Big Picture and there is some amazing video of a 6 story hotel collapsing into the rushing flood waters.

Morakot 1

Morakot 2

Images from AFP/Getty Images and Reuters/Stringer



  1. About 700 people from the remote mountains of southern Taiwan have been found alive overnight after it was feared they may have been buried by mudslides, but many are still missing, an official said.

    Typhoon Morakot, which ravaged Taiwan over the weekend, has killed 63 people across the island. Over the past week more than 100 people have been killed in Asia due to Morakot and tropical storm Etau.

    In Kaohsiung county in Taiwan’s south, hundreds of survivors from several villages made it to higher ground before walls of mud and rock submerged their homes, said Hu Jui-chou, an army official involved in the rescue effort.

    ”I’ll have to say I feel pretty good to be alive,” said Lin Dong-wen, 45, a villager from Namahsia, sitting in front of a pile of medicine after he was rescued earlier in the day.

    ”If I had been left there any longer, I wouldn’t have made it. I saw the mudslide coming, which was really huge, and I passed out. When I woke up, there was mud all over and I climbed out of it,” said Lin.

    Among those feared buried but later found alive were about 200 people from Hsiao Lin, a village that was wiped out by a landslide, and several others from Namahsia village, officials said
    ”They had already left the main village and gone to another one,” Hu said, adding that they used satellite phones to locate the villagers. ”We don’t need to rescue them. We can just send in food.”

    Helicopters dropped food and supplies to survivors, some perched on hills, while other rescuers in rubber dinghies crossed raging muddy rivers to save victims.

    But many people in villages across Taiwan are still missing, officials said.

    Torrential rains from the typhoon had triggered landslides that wiped out villages and caused low-rise buildings lined along rivers to crash into the waters. Roads and bridges were also destroyed, making rescue efforts difficult.

    Over the past few days, as hundreds of anxious relatives waited at a makeshift search and rescue base, helicopters brought survivors, many injured, back from the villages as mudslides had blocked the roads.


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