Preparing for a Typhoon - What You Need to Know


That's got to have been due to the earthquake, surely not a 'phoon?



Isn't that all a bit overrated for those little storms that "hit" the island a few times per year? I think typhoons are rather boring and I think people use it as excuse not to go to work here :wink: So you have to buy food for yourself, but only for the reason that there is nobody working due to imposed holiday from the government. Typhoon for me just means... extra vacation. The number of people that you see in the typhoon-afterhours that take short vacation trips back this :slight_smile:


You are more likely to die from that standing unclean water than from a typhoon (or the resulting unavailiability of water) :slight_smile:

According to the Central Weather Bureau this year could be a year with water shortage. Sorry for you guys in Taipei.


We went over a month right after 9/21 :frowning:

Check this thread if you want to confirm our 14 (actually 19 day) stretch with no water. ... &start=110


Sure, you go ahead and poo poo it while the floodwaters rise. Me, I'm building an ark... :laughing:


According to my experience of living in Taiwan for 23 years...(by the way, i am a taiwanese)
You gotta prepare instant noodles cans and water before the typhoon comes. (But if you live in cities, then don't worry, the 7-11 is always opended!)
But if you would like to cook after the typhoon leaves, you need to buy vegatables one day before the typhonne comes, because after it the price would become so high that all the vegetables seem to be untouchable!!
And DO NOT go to Nantou, and DO NOT go fishing, hiking, mountain climbing, etc.
Anwayway it longs only 1-2 days, sometimes 2-3 days. (maybe no AC, no running water, but I think it's may be a very good time for ghost stories!Ha!)


Thanks antonioprincess, and welcome to Forumosa!
Note that the 7-11's near me were not open after Typhoon Nari, because they were a meter under water. Good point about the fishing, hiking etc.; maybe we should add boating, Loretta? :laughing:


Excellent list. Just to add a couple more points.

The hot water may be out during a typhoon, especially if your water heater is outdoors. The strong winds can easily blow out the pilot light. So take your shower before or when there's a lull in the storm.

Even when the power is still on, during the worst part of a typhoon, I usually turn off my AC, as the winds are way more powerful than the fan in my AC that's trying to turn against the wind. Don't want to come out of the storm with a broken AC.


if i remember correctly,
even with electrical power reconnected, there may be still no tap water supply for days (maybe weeks?). That


I'm scared now...
Is it really bad every year or just some years?
I've only been to Taiwan when its warm and sunny and as I come from a country where it's -20 or 30 centigrades in the winter and +20 or 30 centigrades in the summer, Typhoons is something new to me, as is earth quakes.
I'm not certain I will be moving to Taiwan as yet, but it's looking that way, so fingers crossed I won't experience anything too bad in my first year :wink:


Don't worry, TheLostSwede -- you'll probably be living in reinforced concrete housing, far from the coast. Just follow the preparedness steps, and you'll be fine -- no worries! :slight_smile:


I arrived last year about 2 days before a typhoon hit. It was my first one and living out in Linkou it was exhilerating. The clouds moving swiftly across the sky, rain harder than anything I'd experienced previously and the wind was fantastic.

Sure the water stopped ( I love the irony that after a heavy rain storm you can't get water) but the photos afterwards were great.

I then moved to Taipei where there were no water shortages and we all headed to the pub or got some beer and videos in and watched the clouds from the roof.

Nothing to be scared of just don't be stupid and go pier fishing. :slight_smile:


God of storms is coming, I just went to the CWB site and they showed the tropical depression near the Philippines ... typhoon season started ...


Wrong thread, mate. Posts on current typhoon forecasts and how you're doing during a typhoon belong in the Typhoon 200x thread (also in Living in Taiwan). You want this one. :wink:


I've been asked to add this info to our typhoon preparedness sticky. I've written it in extremely simple "typhoons for dummies" style so that you can read it while drunk and still follow along.

[color=blue][b]How to read the Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts[/b][/color]

If you’re living in Taiwan, it’s a good idea to access the JTWC website(<--click here) and to learn how to read the typhoon maps there; when storms are approaching, we also regularly put them up in a thread entitled “Typhoon 200x” (that’s the year, silly rabbit!) which is in the Living in Taiwan forum. If you can't open the site or can't see the pics, just post in that thread letting us know; we'll either upload a snapshot copy which you should be able to see, or call you names and make fun of you.

In case you have trouble reading the maps, here’s a little help. First of all, here’s a sample map which you would see posted on ‘mosa, or which you would get to by clicking the link entitled TC Warning Graphic on the JTWC site. The red terms are explanatory and would not normally appear:

The typhoon center is shown with its past history as black circles, taken like snapshots every 6 hours; it’s forecast future position is shown in happy little pink circles, so the direction of its path is from black to pink. There are dates attached to the pink circles showing the present and future forecast positions. 2618Z, as in the present position in the above example, is the 26th, at 18:00 hours (that's 6pm) Zulu time. To get from Zulu time (GMT) to Taipei time, have another beer and add 8 hours; the center dot at that position is therefore where the storm will be centered at 2am on the 27th, our time.

The typhoon itself is much bigger than the center of the happy little circle thingies. You can see the clouds by going to a different link on the JTWC site, entitled Multispectral Satellite Imagery (I can't post the URL here because the link is storm-specific, but I've attached an example below).

We don’t usually post those. It’s also not a discreet thing; expect to have blustery weather with periodic, sudden downpours, perhaps even out of a partly blue sky. I’ve even gotten hit with fat raindrops from a blue, cloudless sky. Or maybe it was bird pee.

Next, you want to look at the wind speed of the storm; the stronger the wind, the more powerful the storm is. This information is present on the maps in three ways. First, there’s a white box like this next to the TC Warning Graphic map. It looks like this:

Look in the first box for the lines saying the date/time, winds so many knots, gusts to so many knots. Knots are gnarly bits in wood, and the more of them there are, the stronger the wind. No, seriously, here’s a chart I got off the internet:

Tropical Depression
winds < 34 knots (kts)
x 1.157 = <39 mph
x 1.853 = <63 kph

Tropical Storm aka light typhoon
winds 34-63 knots
x 1.157 = 39-74 mph
x 1.853 = 63-119 kph

Typhoon, aka medium typhoon
winds 64-129 knots
x 1.157 = 74-149 mph
x 1.853 = 119-239 kph

Super Typhoon
winds over 130 knots
x 1.157 = 150+ mph
x 1.853 = 240+ kph

Not all such categorizations agree in terms of when a storm qualifies as a typhoon or super typhoon. This is just for rough reference; the key point is what ‘knots’ are in mph and kph. The CWB (Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau) uses a different scale:

" qīng dù typhoon" (tropical storm; literally, ‘light degree’):
34 - 63 knots; Force 8 - Force 11

" zhōng dù typhoon" (typhoon; literally, ‘medium degree’):
64-99 knots; Force 12 - Force 15

" qiáng lìe typhoon" (super typhoon; lit. ‘strong degree’)
100 knots or greater; Force 16 or greater

The second and fastest way to check strength is to look at the circle at the center of the storm on the map. They use different centers for different storm strengths.

Hollow circle centers are tropical depressions, not yet a storm. Hollow centers with protruding curved arms are tropical storms (in English) or light typhoons (in Chinese); when the center is solid, that’s a typhoon (in English) or medium typhoon (in Chinese). There’s no change in the graphic for a super typhoon – you have to look at the white wind speed box on the right to read that. Note that as a storm moves, it usually gets stronger, reaches a maximum forecast strength, and then (often around the time it hits Taiwan or Japan) rapidly weakens. So the type of center symbol used will vary along the path. The one that matters is for the time that the storm is forecast to be on top of YOU!

Third, there are concentric circles added around the typhoon center (for present and future dates only) to show "wind radii", as the JTWC terms them.

If there’s no extra circle like this, the wind speed is weak (less than 34 knots (39mph; 63kph). The stronger the storm is, the more circles are added. The outermost radii represents 34 knot winds; the second wind radii represents 50 knot winds; the next radii represents 64 knot winds. If that circle passes over you, it means you forgot to sacrifice the right animal to the gods. Stay indoors and preferably away from windows!

Now, what does all this mean for you?

The typhoon outside the biggest pink circle is just rain on and off, and a little wind. It's ok to go to work, go on short hikes, etc. but bring a strong umbrella, and plan to be safe at home before the storm hits. On your way home, buy food, water, and other things recommended in this thread (Preparing for a Typhoon). Better yet, have all those things in advance!

The typhoon inside the biggest circle but outside the dark red one is stronger rain and wind, and pretty much when that hits where you live, it's time to be indoors, well stocked with candybars and alcohol, and maybe some naughty videos.

The typhoon inside the smaller bright red circle is a big bad wolf. Stay indoors and play naked twister with your roommates. Now, follow the magic line connecting the circles. Does that line go near your home on the map? If so, it's going to be bad. If it goes right on top of your home, you're going to die.

No, just kidding. Follow the precautions, stay inside, and you’ll be fine. :wink:

Q1. Why does the forecast keep changing? How do I know if it will really hit us?
A1. Silly rabbit! Weather is variable. Have another look at that typhoon forecast map. Notice that there's a large area which is cross-hatched (shaded), and often roughly conical, as here:

What this area means is that the storm could on average veer right or left within that hatched area. The farther away the storm is, the more room for change there is, so don't make firm plans based on the forecast of a storm still 3-4 days away! You really never know what it will really do until it's almost on top of you.

Q2. Will school and work be cancelled?
A2. That decision is made at the local level by city and county governments, generally around 10 to 11pm the night before the storm hits, and announcements are broadcast in Chinese; they get repeated on ICRT and sometimes on Forumosa in English. Just stay tuned to your local TV and radio news, and check the 'mosa Typhoon 200x thread for updates around that time.


Nice one! Now, how do I get onto the JTWC if it continually times out. It appears to not like my IP address or something. Now I can't even get it at work. Can the forecast track be mirrored somewhere by somebody?


just some random tips:

  • don't buy veggies after the storm. they are rediculously overpriced even when there is now actual damage to the farmlands

  • don't go surfing, don't go hiking

  • look out for falling tree branches and advertising signs

  • don't park your car under trees or near a river

  • make pictures before and after the storm, the sky is never 'bluer'

  • rent some DVDs in case the TV reception is poor due to heavy rain

  • prepare windows exposed to the wind with duct tape just in case

  • enjoy the cool air, it's going to be sticky hot soon enough again...


If you can't open the JTWC, try refreshing, or try again later. occasionally the link won't open, at which point I use a mirror at the NRL Monterey Marine Meteorology siteor turn to similar sites like this.[/quote]

Then follow the links by Western Pacific storm name, e.g.,Bilis is here.


News about whether work and such will be cancelled may be found at


The link Damafen provided takes you to a page full of Chinese listings of cancellations. If you don't read Chinese, tune in to the current typhoon thread in Living in Taiwan, and around 10-11pm the night before the storm hits, some of us will be posting translations of the cancellations.

I believe that if you go to that link too early it won't show any cancellations, and instead is a Central Personnel Administration homepage. From there, you can follow the links to get to the previous storm's cancellations. On the right side there's a column in orange; it's the bottom link, 歷次天然災害停止辦公上課訊息 . That takes you to a page of announcements listed chronologically.

The direct link to the chronologically listed historical announcements is, for the moment,

And just in case you need to ask, here's today's Survival Chinese lesson from the Taipei Times: