Typhoon NARI: impressive! Hoi an, Viet Nam

Soon after we moved into our rental house near Hoi An, (on the organic farm of Tra Que),there was the threat of the first big storm of the season. Typhoons are part of life, in Asia. The last big one to hit the area was about six years earlier.
So we saw and experienced  our community get into a “readiness” mode that was palpable.  Something was coming down.  Farmers were filling bags of sand to put on their roofs to weigh them down  and generally barricading against the high winds that come with typhoons. We were advised to stock up on food for days in case of lack of electricity and the possibility of being stuck inside the house for days. We were ready.  The winds came and went and well, of course we were relieved, but also somewhat disappointed that we hadn’t experienced a more, well, forceful hurricane.
A couple weeks later, we come to understand what the fuss was all about. This time it is Typhoon Nari that is predicted to hit the Central region of Viet Nam.
Same routine …. all get active in preparing for the forthcoming Typhoon.  This time, it seems it is headed straight for Da Nang, which is a large city about forty five minutes North of Hoi An.
So, how do we prepare?
– Stock up on food ~ specifically pho, fruit and chocolate
– Enough water  to last a week
– Move all glasses,  plates and knives in the kitchen ~ to prevent their becoming flying projectiles
– Evaluate the house to determine the safest locations
– Establish an upstairs “camp” with cushions, food, water, blankets
– Protect against the small glass windows which line the rear of the house, by stuffing towels into those which already leaked a bit when it rained.
We are in Hoi An at the market where people are going about their usual business, except for the fact that most are either listening to the radio or checking online to see what time the typhoon is scheduled to hit the area. It will be in the early a.m. hours.
When we get back to the organic farm, practical preparations for high winds are underway. The winds start to pick up in the afternoon, the rain is strong already and most people are heading indoors to brace themselves for a long night.
In the front of our house the shrimp farms, quickly overflow onto the sidewalk once the rains start to come down heavily.
The winds are strong and noisy!

Very quickly the shrimp farms in the front of our house become one big sea.

Serious winds.  Category 1, over 100km / 80miles/hour.  The sky dark and ominous looking.

Our friend Lois, staying with us in the house, is definitely very scared. We do our best to do a few walk throughs of each room in the house and determine that the bedroom downstairs at the back of the house would be the safest for all of us. At very worst, we could all squeeze into one of the small bathrooms which would be insulated should the roof blow off.

We put the passports into the fridge figuring that if the house got badly damaged, that would be the safest spot for important documents.

The storm builds in intensity slowly through the night.

It is impressive and at times it IS scary! We huddle into one bed and do our best to get some sleep. The noise ( an intense loud howling) and strength of the winds during the night feels as though the whole house might just lift off and be whisked away. Wind and rain enter through an area of the house which is open to the sky, in the center, over a small internal garden pond of sorts. Rain works its way in through the roof tiles, down the walls, and drips on us most of the night.

Checking out our neighborhood after the worst of the storm
Yummy pho from the market, for breakfast after a long night of HOWLING and ferocious winds.
An Alexander Technique session while waiting for the weather to settle after the storm can’t be a bad strategy…
Storm is over. Early morning and we go out to assess the neighborhood. Our front entrance is a swimming pool. Winds are still strong and debris is everywhere.
Upstairs bedroom with roof tiles blown off.

The storm rips off tiles from the roof of our guest bedroom and winds enter, smashing the ceiling down onto the bed! Luckily we have done our assessments of safe rooms, and reacted to Lois’s fear of the typhoon and have “evacuated” the upstairs rooms before the intensity of the storm.

The sight of the bed when we open the door after the storm….. the ceiling completely smashed down, onto the bed.
Could have been serious indeed. Lucky, lucky!
Immediately after the storm, taking a walk. Yikes, it’s cold and windy!

We are observing climate adaptation real time and it’s fascinating….

* Tra Que, the huge organic herb/vegetable garden itself, is remarkably untouched.  The land which is in the center, with all the farmers houses around the perimeter, is raised from the surrounding water source about more than 1m / 3feet.  Many farmers covered their more fragile greens with lightweight nets.  These appear to have worked remarkably well in protecting the crop.


*Internet and electricity – the pace of recovery in the city of Hoi An is admirable.  Within 3 hours of the city getting hit by an extreme weather event, the municipality  and electric company’s trucks and staff are out in full force.  Electricity is back in the neighborhood of Tra Que where we live, bye end of day one. Broken tree limbs are being cut with saws and removed.


*Market rebound: Incredibly, within two hours of the major storm passing, our neighbors are cutting lettuce and herbs and biking to market.  Within 4 hours, the entire market is functioning.  Fishermen are delivering first shipments of fish.


* Transportation:  How long after the storm passed before we would see “traffic” on the road leading to the Hoi An market and historic district?  We walk to the main street and after a few minutes stop a taxi to give us a ride. Still way too much wind and rain for us to brave the motorbike.


*Repair crews: we send an email to our landlord’s representative outlining the damages – roof ripped off, false ceiling crashed, windows blown out, leaks etc.  It is 8:30pm.  By 9:00 pm we have a response  scheduling a visit next morning at 8:30.  At 8:30 a.m. sharp, the rental manager shows up to take pics of the damage, by 2pm is back with crew to do an estimate of cost of repair.

Central open air garden/pond which allowed high winds and rain to enter the center of the house! Interesting design feature for a house in a typhoon prone area.
Want more?  Watch the video to hear the wind howl!:  http://youtu.be/R1hXADWNnsc

2 thoughts on “Typhoon NARI: impressive! Hoi an, Viet Nam

  1. Pingback: A return to resonance, in Hoi An (Viet Nam) – Empty Nesters on a Green Global Trek

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