While the world's media commented on how destructive typhoon Usagi was; in Shenzhen and Hong Kong it hardly felt as if a typhoon had arrived. There was plenty of rain and wind, but nothing compared to what one may define as a typhoon. Usagi - which means rabbit in Japanese - had produced winds of 165 km/h (103 mph) as it closed in on China's densely populated Pearl River Delta.
Sadly 25 souls lost their lives in Guangdong Province (including 3 sailors who went fishing from Xiaoshan Island near Taishan - but never returned and were never found). What the media failed to mention to the world is that Guangdong Province is not tiny as they made it out to be. It is just over 2/3 the size of the U.K. (Guangdong Province is 177,900 km² and the U.K. is 243,610 km²), and so when the media mentions that typhoon Usagi hit Guangdong Province, in fact it did not hit the whole of the province but a portion of the province that is close to the sea (very close to the southern part near Hainan Island, and towards the Vietnam Border).
Thankfully there was minimal damage in Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. I live in Futian District, and there was hardly any damage done, and no floods. In fact, a thunder storm which we experience about 2 weeks ago was worse than the weather we experienced last night
Typhoon Usagi, which is predicted to be the most powerful typhoon of 2013, is set to drench Southern China with a month's rainfall in just a few days. The typhoon has made it's way in from the Philippines, and Taiwan where it caused severe destruction.
Thankfully my only experience of a close enough encounter of such a fierce storm was the hurricane that hit the United Kingdom in 1987. I clearly remember it as if it was yesterday. So when I read the news reports that a bigger and much stronger storm was heading right towards Shenzhen, I was all ready and prepared for the worst.
Typhoon Usagi was over 1000km (620 miles) in diameter. Winds of up to 180 km/h (110 mph) were recorded in some areas, toppling trees and blowing cars off roads. Its victims drowned or were hit by debris.
With such unstable air, sees seemingly innocent Strato Cumumlous clouds suddenly trigger into thunderstorms - rising faster than your average elevator. They take around 20 minutes to build - are active for about 20 minutes and then dissipate into high level cirrus clouds and low level stratus clouds. Scary stuff, and no pilot should fly into them.
Typhoons are common during the summer in parts of South, South-East, and East Asia, where the warm moist air and low pressure conditions enable tropical cyclones to form. It was clear that the average person on the street was hit hard. Shenzheners started panicking and all the supermarket shelves were almost EMPTY on the eve of the storm.
I took the below two photos on the eve of the typhoon approaching Shenzhen. The only indication that a storm was approaching our city was the strong breeze which interrupted the otherwise tropically warm and humid weather that Shenzhen experiences at this time of the year.
Hundreds of flights from Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong have been cancelled. The normally active Nanshan Heliport, which has daily shuttle helicopter flights that take oil and gas workers to the oil platforms in the South China Sea, was quiet.
It's holiday time here in China. Tomorrow (19th September 2013) the full moon will shine on the whole nation as families and friends gather around to take time off for a much needed holiday break (only 3 days though...but some people take more days off).
During the Mid-Autumn Festival, if you are going to visit someone's home (friends, family etc.), office (for corporate meetings, business visits etc.), or even if you are meeting a friend after a long time during the holiday then it is customary to take a gift box of mooncakes - to not take one would seem odd and even dis-respectful. However, exceptions can be made, of course, if you are a foreigner and if this is your first time in China.
Supermarkets were armed at dealing with the final rush to buy mooncakes as pictures show below.
The future of Shenzhen (and China)? Assured...if traffic is an indicator. These two photos are NOT taken during the morning or evening rush hour. The above photo was taken at around 2pm, and the below photo at around 9pm. With the number of cars in China, traffic jams stretching for miles on the roads of major Chinese cities have become the norm (at anytime of the day). Ironically, most roads during the National Holidays (with the Mid-Autumn festival this week), are almost deserted...(as everyone is on holiday away back to their hometowns, or just whiling away their time at home...)
It's mooncake time in China as the whole country is gearing up for the Mid-Autumn Festival which falls in the first week of October. Mooncakes are usually round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4–5 cm thick, and come in variety of flavours (but mostly with one or two egg yolks from salted duck eggs. In accordance with Chinese National Holiday Policy, offices in Mainland China will be closed from Sept 19th (Thursday) to Sept 21st (Saturday), Sept 22nd (Sunday) will be treated as a normal working day.
Offices across Mainland China will also be closed from Oct 1st (Tuesday) to the Oct 7th (Monday) for the National Day’s Holiday, total 7 days, and will resume to work on Oct 8th (Tuesday). Sept 29th (Sunday) and Oct 12th (Saturday) will be treated as normal working days. That's probably a good time to avoid all parks, and major tourist attractions as 1.2 BILLION people go holiday together!
The ice-cream mooncakes from Haagen-Dazs are just ridiculously scrumptious - a must have!. It's just difficult to keep composure when you have delicious ice-cream melting all over your hands and mouth (!)
(note: mooncakes = multi-BILLION dollar industry in Greater China).
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