How to Enjoy a Typhoon

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Friday, July 08, 2016 

under Community by Alex Panayotopoulos

Typhoon! Typhoon!

Thus goes up the call throughout Shanghai. It’s what those guys riding the bicycles in the alleys with a loudspeaker in the basket are announcing, like it’s an air raid or a locust swarm. The news outlets fall over themselves to run headlines like this;

A lot of despair ringing in the air, a kind of gleeful doomsday cult coagulates, as Shanghai residents grasp each other by the hands and with heartfelt mania whisper “It is coming, the storm is come to reap us all.”


Its name is Nepartak. It hit Taiwan pretty badly. And storm tracking sites are predicting that it’ll pass right over Shanghai. By that time, though, it’ll probably have diminished from a “super typhoon” to a “tropical storm” or even a “tropical depression.” With all the rain we’ve been suffering these past few months, we’ve all probably had a bit of that, haven’t we?

But there’s no need to despair. With enough preparation, a typhoon doesn’t just have to be safe, it can even be enjoyable. Enough intro, let’s get to the points.

The Facts

     -  Shanghai’s typhoons have, for the past few years, been mostly okay. A lot of rain, some heavy gusts of wind, some damage to the trees and property, flooding. It’s no joke down in Fujian province, but by the time it’s come up our way, typhoons have lost quite a bit of steam.
     -  That’s not the same thing as saying typhoons are nothing to worry about.  This year, it looks like the storm is taking a sharp right turn over Fujian and heading straight for us.
     -  It looks like it might hit Shanghai sometime over the weekend, most estimates suggest Saturday morning. But storms are hard to predict.
     -  Typhoons are serious tropical weather storms. They bring heavy rainfall and strong winds, and if you aren’t careful or haven’t found cover, they can be dangerous.

So let’s go through what you should do just in case Nepartak is coming to reap our souls.

The Essentials

     -  Stock up on water and some dry foods, in case you can’t leave the house. There might be a shortage if water pipes are damaged, but don’t worry about having enough for anything other than drinking and flushing the toilet, if the storm is bad enough to force you to use emergency water supplies, you shouldn’t be hurrying about showers anyway.
     -  Make sure you can seal your apartment tight. Even if it’s heavy winds and nothing else, it has potential to do damage to your home.
     -  Let people know where you you plan to be. Make a plan for how you’re going to contact people afterwards if the typhoon in Shanghai is bad.
     -  Charge your phone and your laptop so you can stay up to date with weather reports, but avoid charging during the storm, some houses don’t have storm surge protection.


Clear? All right! Now we get to the fun stuff!

How to Enjoy the Typhoon if you’re…

1. The Daredevil

You want to give the storm the middle finger, man. You want to be out there, screaming back at Nature’s fury made manifest. You want to stand on the top of the tallest building, tempting the howling winds to call you a coward. You’re convinced your long-exposure picture of the storm crashing into the Shanghai Tower is what’s going to catapult you to instant fame and glory. Here’s our advice for you;

     -  Don’t be an idiot. Even if it doesn’t seem that bad, storms can pick up within minutes.
     -  If you must go outside, get a pair of rubber boots and a plastic parka. Forget umbrellas, they are twig-trinkets to be broken in Nepartak’s eyes.
     -  Avoid large bodies of water. Don’t wade through it, Indiana Jones, it’s probably sewer run-off at best, and electrically charged at worst.
     -  Stay on ground level and away from tall objects that could fall, such as telephone poles, standees, electrical signs, trees, the giant Transformer robots down around Dapuqiao. So pretty much everything in the city, did we mention you should stay indoors?
     -  Get your story straight for when you need to tell your friends and family back home how you totally survived like the Judgement of God, man.
(Bonus for the photographers; just get yourself a polarizing filter and shoot through your window. No one will know the difference)

2. The Homesteader

You want to settle into a chair and listen to the rain hammering down on your refuge, with a good book and a bowl of soup already prepared, to read by candle-light as the typhoon exhausts itself, pounding futilely against your fortress of concrete and laundry lines. Here’s our advice for you.

     -  Don’t get candles, they could fall over and catch something on fire, Lothario. Get a flashlight and batteries.
     -  Get a book. When was the last time you read a good book? There’s still time to go out and grab one, you know what’s good? Lu Xun’s Selected Works, translated by Yang Xianyi & Gladys Yang. He’s great, Lu Xun is, here’s a quote; “I used to be a steady sort of fellow, living comfortably enough… until I made the mistake of learning to read and write, was influenced by the new cultural movement, and decided to seek knowledge.” That’s pretty funny, isn’t it? Anyway, plus that way you won’t waste your phone battery reading WeChat.
     -  Get those Scottish Shortbread biscuits, there’s nothing better than a cup of tea or coffee and a packet of those, now’s the perfect time.
     -  Let people know where you are. You’re hunkering down, you’d best make sure people know where you’ll be in case something goes really wrong.
     -  Get buckets and pans ready, in case things leak.

3. The Party Animal

You know who you are.

     -  Stock up on vodka or gin, it can double as rubbing alcohol in the case of injuries (that’s not true).
     -  Get lots of water. Lots. Not only do you have to stay hydrated, but you’ll be… dehydrating often.
     -  Get Twister. Yes, you heard us. You’ll thank us later.
     -  Lock the doors so you don’t stumble out trying to find cigarettes.
     -  Don’t open the windows to “clear out the cigarette smoke.” See previous one.
     -  Turn off your phone. Don’t drunk text in a storm. You won’t enjoy it.

4. The Workaholic

“What typhoon?” Or maybe your boss said that.

     -  Make sure your office equipment is insured.
     -  Stock up on emergency supplies at your office, and a sleeping bag. Don’t worry if your colleagues think you’re weird, they’ve all probably guessed that’s what you were going to do anyway.

So that’s it! The comprehensive guide to enjoying typhoons in Shanghai! Batten down the hatches, everybody, and choose your preferred way to ride out the storm. Good luck.