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July 4, Istachatta: Hot.

Taidong, July 17: Massive typhoon on the night of July 7-8. (why do they always come at night? this one raged all night and finished right on sunrise)Record land wind speeds for Taiwan. Caused tremendous wind damage in Taidong city - flipping over cars and tearing off rooves and shop signage with many/all people reporting windows or doors blowing out - looked like a warzone. Every house would have sustained some kind of damage. In Xing Chang it was by far the strongest typhoon i have experienced here. Damage to roof guttering, fences down, a bunch of trees were snapped, water knocked out. Amazingly, electricity, which went out in first hour of the storm, but was then reconnected in a couple of hours time and stayed on all night. House shook for hours in eye-wall winds and was surprised there wasn't more damage. Walls looked like they were going to pop at any minute during the last few hours of the storm and wind was crashing and banging and whistling and making this loud alarming sound that sounded like a blast from a truck horn. Quite scary. I generally get excited by typhoons but i really don't need to experience that again. Ever.

But what a fucking summer. I'm sure at this time of the year i write that this is the worst summer of all time, and i am gonna write it again - but this year will surely take some beating. The meiyu was a virtual non-event delivering a fraction of our ave rainfall or temp relief and hardly even cloud cover for many days. Consequently May and June were record hot months. Then July was of course hot, then bang, the typhoon season had barely begun, when we get a monster, record breaker, right out of the blocks. Making it worse, it was predicted to go well north, Illan-Taipei, and you'd barely bother to bring in the washing for that - but then, with only about the daylight hours of July 7 to prepare, it zeroed in on Taidong. And there was no work day off prior to it so many people got home from work just as the typhoon began. There was high pressure steering ridge to the north, which was predicted to weaken, and the typhoon would recurve up through it. It didn't. The ridge was there all along, so they may have miss predicted that one with their models fixating on an event that they thought would happen but didn't rather than paying enough attention to the actual conditions.

And now, back to record breaking heat and near cloudless skies all day long. 38.3 in Taipei today. They have already broken the records for most days over 35 and 37, and i am sure you could add over 38 to that - and we are only half-way through summer! In Taidong, according to the thermometer it's not as hot as that but with the humidity, every day is a total brain-frier if you are stupid enough to go out in it. Normally, i'm not, i've got a rule about it in fact, but coz i have to deal with typhoon damage stuff, like water problems and fences, i have to break that rule. And that's kind of the trap. I'd love to get the fuck out of here for a decent chunk of summer but if a typhoon does hit, then there are 'defend your property' issues - and then there is 'repair your property' stuff. Anyway, i got off a lot lighter than many people. In Taidong there are families, business owners that have been gutted by this vicious typhoon.

One thing was that there wasn't a lot of rain. Only 240 mil during the storm and just an additional 20 mil either side, mostly in the tail. Nothing else in July apart from that. Other places - Hualien, Pingdong and Kaohsiung, did get hammered with rain, but not off the charts. Consequently, despite the ferocious winds, the death toll was low. Just 2-3 people - one of whom died while he was fishing!

Dan comment: Shit! I'm not sorry I missed that. I'm quite sure both of the houses we lived in suffered heavy damage.

July 20 Istachatta: Wow! Sounds like an absolute... typhoon! Oddly, here on the exact other northern hemisphere (literally, 12 hours and a bit north), Florida has set records for the longest time without a hurricane. 10 years plus. It's kind of freaky because one gets the sense that when they do return, they will with a vengeance. I've seen a few flocks of Swallow-tailed Kites recently. Yesterday about 25-30 were circling over the house briefly. They are amazing birds. Truly inspirational.

July 28 Istachatta': It's been a hot July. Not as wet as last July, but hotter with daytime highs consistently in the mid to high 90's (35+). Two things have made it bearable: frequent afternoon storms and cool nights. As often as not we'll get late afternoon showers, very much like Pingtung city and points just east of there, and it cools things down considerably. Night lows are mid to low 70s (21-24). Some nights are a bit muggy but nothing like Taiwan or Guam. I've recently seen actual flocks of Swallow-tailed Kites circling, by flock I mean 15-20. Banana spiders are fully grown. These are very cool spiders. They are huge and they build a web and just sit there until they die in the fall. We have a couple on our front porch.

Taidong, July 31: After the typhoon, the usual brutal heat - worse this year coz there was so much typhoon damage that needed to be attended to. Normally, i will just do some woodwork during summer so i'm at least working out of the sun, but this year there was outside work that just had to be done. Typhoon seemed to have wiped out the hornet populations coz very few around this year

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