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I'm still here
singapore sunset
So this is what it looks like outside now.

Almost every tree is gone, it's shocking. The cleanup crews must have been working all through the night to drag the trunks off the road and onto the sidewalk so the buses can run. I found a busted up Mobike in the gutter. It still worked, so I pedalled into the city.

A few windows blown out. All the trees are over. Trash everywhere. Our apartment block courtyard was covered in broken tiles and smashed bricks.

Now i don't feel so bad about feeling scared yesterday. The wind was rattling the windows and front door so much I spent about 4 hours convinced if I breathed too hard I'd get sliced open by a flying shard of glass. My windows held up, but plenty of rain came in the cracks. And grass and dirt. How the fuck does grass and dirt get up to the 13th floor?

Seeing how bad it is over here I'm surprised there's only two reported dead, because the west side of the PRD must have been a clusterfuck. I'm also very happy the power only went out for half an hour, so I got to eat real food and watch some TV and then read internet posts from millions of other people stuck in the same boat as me. Score one for Chinese infrastructure and preparedness.

Now it's off to work. The new CTO is due in today but I won't be surprised if his flight was delayed. Oh well. Life goes on. I want another weekend to recover from this one.

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I've been thinking about you all day. I even gave myself a China geography lesson and figured out where the different towns were in relation to the hurricane's path, and where you are in relation to Hong Kong (I didn't realize you were right next door!). You were right in the path of hurricane force winds, and - whew - you got creamed!

Two years ago in Hurricane Matthew we lost pretty much ALL the trees in our yard (like 20 of them!), as did our entire neighborhood. Three trees landed on our house. Exacerbating the hurricane was a tornado or microburst. And flooding. (Was there any flooding anywhere in town in your storm?) The hurricane literally changed the character of the entire island with the loss of so many trees, and you may find as you move around in the days to come that your city will look different.

I also give kudos to your city's infrastructure. Lengthy power outages are the norm after a storm like that. 1/2 hour is amazingly good!

You had every right to be scared. I am eternally grateful that we weren't there during our storm

You are so right about how the city looks different. There are still roads where the sidewalks are piled 10 feet high with branches and foliage, but the places where it's all been cleared out look totally naked. One tree near my work was a really old one with a plaque/story and everything... they probably built the road to go around it... well now that's gone. Really sad. I talked to one of the owners of a shop in the neighborhood and he just shrugged - 没办法 - what can you do?

The flooding wasn't too bad in Shenzhen I don't think - just storm surge wiping out some coastal properties and then receding. I don't know if it's because we have good storm drains here or if people just don't build on flood plains so much, but I haven't often seen pictures of entire city blocks under water like after Harvey, Katrina etc. I think that's more of a problem in rural areas like Guangxi province, places where they don't have a modern system of dams and reservoirs.

Outside of the Netherlands (obviously) the best flood defense I have ever seen is in Taipei (Taiwan) where there are massive walls along the river. You can go outside the walls and bike along the parkland there, but there are all these warning signs that when the flood comes they will seal off the entrances/exits with submarine-like airlock doors. It would be interesting to visit during a bad monsoon season to see how it holds up.

I was thinking about you over there. Good to hear that you are safe though. Only losing power for that short of time is so amazingly lucky. During Hurricane Irma last years we didn't have power at the house after for 8 days.

During the hurricane was a very hard thing for me to deal with working at the hospital. In the hospital I felt trapped in a building having to work when I had no clue what was happening outside besides what the patients were watching on TV.

Most of the trees fell and only the palm trees survived. It's still bare in the neighborhood. Feels so empty even a year later. It just takes time for a place to recover.

Still good to hear your good.

Wow, 8 days is nuts!! I would definitely not be prepared for that.

I guess one reason power is more reliable here is that aside from a handful of epically huge transmission towers, everything seems to be underground. I remember when I lived in Brisbane (Australia) we would get power outages every time a bit of a breeze passed through town. It was super frustrating. I guess it's cheaper to put electric above-ground, but surely the government must make that money back quicksmart by not having to shut the city down after a storm? I dunno.

Now that they have started to clear out all the debris, it's pretty bare here too. It's a strange feeling. The palm trees are still around, and some of the younger trees that I guess just bent over and sprung back up, but the bigger trees either got an vicious haircut or completely uprooted. You're right, time will heal. Soon people might forget some of these streets ever had an overhead canopy.

Dang, I was thinking about you, your sweet tea, and your clean panties, hoping you made it through unscathed. That's wild that all the trees were knocked down. I thought maybe you were far enough inland to avoid such a mess... but weather is big I guess.

Yeah I was shocked when I walked out too - I figured it wouldn't have hit us so badly knowing how far away it was.

I read an interview with some guys in Zhuhai and they said they were better prepared this year after Hato's thrashing last year - they had trimmed all the big trees before Mangkhut came through and as a result lost very few. I guess that's a lesson Shenzhen and Hong Kong should pay heed to for next time. It was definitely the bigger trees that copped the worst damage - the young and small ones presumably just bounced around and sprung back up again.

I was able to see several videos posted on youtube from Shenzhen and Hong Kong from during and after the storm... I think the people that filmed the actual storm were crazy. I did notice that in Shenzhen the majority of the damage was tree related.

I think it's funny that I can watch videos of your city, that you're not even allowed to watch. The internet is weird.

i'm glad you're ok! that was some wind, if it blew dirt and grass all the way up to your apartment. those poor trees, too.

were people evacuated, and that's why there were so few deaths? everyone was just super prepared? i'm really impressed you only lost power for half an hour, because it sounds like the wind was awful enough to fuck things up for a good length of time.

I'm not sure why there were so few deaths, though I'm certainly not complaining! The Philippines copped it far worse this year. Hato (last year) wasn't as strong but 24 people died, so perhaps people just took the warnings more seriously this time around.

I did read that 2.5 million people across Guangdong province were evacuated, but that's not very much considering Shenzhen has a population of around 15 million, and there's something like 60 million in the delta, not even counting the rest of the coast. I guess most of us live in highrises, which it turns out is a pretty great place to hunker down.

I saw some of the video clips online and the wind looked insane. I don’t remember typhoons Hope or Ellen being like that. Still, the best place to be is in a concrete and steel high rise. Tried and tested.

According to the Hong Kong press it was "worst since Ellen". The biggest complaint was the "day after" handling, with people grumbling that the trains were too busy and getting to work was a pain. If that's the worst thing you've got to worry about after a storm, I think your city is doing pretty good!

Yikes. Good to get an update. Everytime I hear about this storm I think of you. Makes a diff when you actually almost a little bit kind of know someone there :)


Glad to see you posting, gotta say.

Yikes, glad you're safe. Sounds super intense.

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