Typhoon!

The typhoon that struck the Philippines Islands, usually called the P.I. In the Navy, caused the usual problems of the South Pacific. I have suffered through several typhoons in submarines, and seen the results on land immediately after two such destructive activities on the island of Kauai.

(Hurricanes and typhoons are the same thing with different names. Because of their locations, typhoons are stronger.)

Submarines had it easy — first we lashed ourselves on the bridge and in the shears, while those below had seat belts in their bunks. Then when it got worse, we snorkeled on the surface with visibility through the periscope, and finally we submerged. It is always dead calm when submerged several hundred feet. We could only go two or three knots but at least we could walk about, without seasickness.

The Hurricane/typhoon that struck the Island of Kauai destroyed the US Navy wind gauge at 235 MPH.  These typhoons are particularly dangerous because they have a huge ocean of warm water over which to gain power.

Because the nations and islands of the South Pacific are warm, and the people often poor, their buildings are poorly constructed. Even wealthy homes on Hawaiian Islands often are single-wall construction and often have neither heat nor air conditioning. There is little need for more. Its just an unnecessary expense.

In my writings about the history, culture and politics of Hawaii in general, and Kauai in particular, I have noted that homes are constructed in two manners — indestructible, and disposable. The Kauai home we stayed in three or four months a year for almost 20 years was disposable, but the Getty Estate just down the street was indestructible. Fortunately, because of fortuitous location, neither home was destroyed or even badly damaged by either Iwa (1982) or Iniki (1992).

Of course, the Hawaiian Islands are MUCH richer than any of the other South Pacific islands, so when I saw the miles of flattened trees, and what were restaurants were only concrete slabs with a pipe protruding on Kauai, I can only imagine what could happen in the P.I.

On Kauai, I saw condos that looked like drive-through car washes. If winds can do that to concrete buildings, imagine what it can do to shacks– and much of the P.i. Is shacks

Even worse is Vietnam, and that poor nation is struck with 20 typhoons a year.

We just have no concept of the destructive power of these storms.

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