How to prepare for a typhoon
A typhoon, known as a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, is a storm of damaging proportions. Typhoons are most likely to hit Taiwan from July to October, and unlike earthquakes, are somewhat predicable as to when and where they will hit.
There are four types of destructive storms that can directly impact Taiwan:
Tropical depressions – wind speeds of 29 mph (46 kph) or less.
Tropical storms – wind speeds between 29 mph (46 kph) and 55.5 mph (89 kph).
Typhoons – wind speeds between 55.5 mph (89 kph) and 114.5 mph (183 kph), known as hurricane
categories 1 through 4 in the Atlantic.
Super Typhoons: wind speeds greater than 114.5 mph (183 kph). These are the equivalent of
category 5 storms.
In addition to bringing damaging winds, typhoons can drop incredible amounts of rain. Owing to the mountains running the length of the island, these storms can sometimes drop rain in excess of 1 meter in 24 hours.
What You Can Do to Prepare
Prepare a disaster supplies kit for home, car and office. These kits should include some or all of:
- First aid kit and essential medications – consider prescription and OTC medication requirements in the event of a quarantine
- Canned or shelf-stable food and can opener – enough to last at least 72 hours
- At least 3 gallons of water per person and/or water purification tablets
- Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding / sleeping bags
- Battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries. Models that do not require batteries are worth considering
- Alcohol-based hand cleaner
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
- Copies of important documents, including passports, ARCs, credit cards, financial accounts, photos of family members and pets, and lists of important telephone numbers
- Food, leash and kennel for pets
- Masks and gloves in the event of a quarantine
- Consider packing your disaster kit in something waterproof that is easy to grab and carry in the event you must evacuate quickly.
Detailed disaster kit information and checklists can be found at:
Proactively prepare your home
- Check roof for leaks.
- Clear drain holes in balconies and window boxes.
- Obtain plastic sheeting for furniture protection, tape for windows and extra radio batteries.
- Organize valuable papers into a waterproof packet
- Make sure your PC or other sensitive electronic equipment is not situated in a place where water can damage it.
48 hours prior to a typhoon:
- Fill your gas tank; power loss may disable pumps during storms.
- Make extra ice for short-term cold storage if power fails.
- Check potable water supply
- Listen to ICRT, FM 100.7 for regular typhoon updates. Within 36 hours from landfall, ICRT includes hourly typhoon updates as part of their regular newscasts.
24 Hours prior to a typhoon:
- Move furniture away from windows. Roll up rugs and place on furniture. Place furniture legs in tin cans or on bricks in case of flooding.
- Remove debris and loose equipment from your yard or balcony. Tie down or trim trees and brushes. Secure potted plants.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest setting.
- Charge mobile phones.
- Fill bathtub and sinks with water for cooking and flushing. Use plastic wrap around stoppers to seal drains.
12 hours prior to a typhoon:
- Check Taiwan Central Weather Bureau Typhoon News page for updates
- Download CWB app for automatic updates (offers English) Android app or Apple
- Typhoon becomes ICRT‘s top news story. Listen online. Hourly newscasts begin with a typhoon update. ICRT will announce school and government office closures. When government offices close, so will most private sector companies. Do not be tempted to stay at work, as you may become stranded. Traffic is restricted to emergency vehicles only.
- Power loss sometimes occurs. Power outages are monitored by the electric company and repairs
will be made as soon as possible. Do not tie up the telephone system with unnecessary reports.
Telephone lines may also go down.
- If the power goes out, open the refrigerator and freezer as little as possible. A refrigerator will
maintain its temperature for 24 hours or more unless opened. Put the ice you’ve made and the food you will need into a cooler to avoid opening the refrigerator.
- Pull down typhoon shutters, if available.
- Park your car on high ground in an area free from danger of falling trees or flying debris.
- If leaks develop in the ceiling, you may have to make a small drain hole to localize the leakage and prevent the whole ceiling from becoming saturated.
- Tape windows in crisscross fashion (use strong tape you would use for parcels, most hardware
stores stock it). Note: tape will not prevent windows from breaking, but will minimize the danger of them shattering.
During the storm:
- Stay indoors, away from windows and keep curtains closed. Winds can knock adults and children down, snap power lines and shatter glass
- Follow CWB for heavy rain and wind alerts.
- ICRT issues updates on the half hour and hour and continues until the typhoon has moved away.
- Please do not call ICRT; their telephone lines are needed for emergency communication.
- DO NOT leave your home if the winds suddenly die down. You are in the eye of the storm and winds will resume with full force from the opposite direction soon.
Typhoon recovery – typhoon’s radius has cleared Taiwan but danger still exists:
- Stay at home! Roads may be blocked due to landslides, flooding or downed power lines or trees.
- Traffic restricted to official vehicles only. Offices and facilities remain closed.
- Begin cleaning up your residence.
- Do not go ‘sightseeing’. Danger still exists due to downed power lines and local flooding.
Information © The Community Services Center. All rights reserved.
Taipei Living – Disaster Preparedness Excerpt 5