|[a] System RF|
|[b] Force RF|
—Typhoon Nelson made landfall in Northern Taiwan on August 23, 1985.
—An 8.0 earthquake hit Mexico on September 19, 1985.
—Severe winds killed thousands in Bangladesh in May 1985. The reference is embedded in the link I have provided. Look for "May 1985" in the text (fifth of seven paragraphs).
2 November 1985
The Taipei summer had its share of minor natural disasters. They were nothing remarkable, compared to the horrible winds in Southeast Asia in May, or the earthquakes in Mexico in September, but they kept me vigilant. Taiwan had more than its share of shallow earthquakes, lasting from five seconds to half a minute, and a few typhoons. Most of the typhoons that hit the northern tip of the island are minor; they usually veer off at the last minute and head for Japan, Korea, or the mainland.
In late August, however, Typhoon Nelson did not veer off. The eye of that medium-strength typhoon blew its one hundred mile-an-hour winds right through Taipei and the rest of the island, sparing only the southern tip. Typhoon Nelson was not nearly so strong as the famous 1968 Typhoon Gloria, which left downtown Taipei in thirteen feet of water. It was no slouch, though. Island-wide, seven people were killed, and twenty or more injured. The winds destroyed ninety percent of the trees along Zhongshan North Road, near my home, and wrought havoc on building sites, shop signs, and anything left unattended in the open. One of my students lost most of the roof off her house.
Most people, like me, however, just had a day off from work and school. I was without electricity and water for about four hours, and didn’t have a phone for most of the day. Otherwise I just watched the storm destroy most of Taipei’s already withering plant life. By midday I could walk outside and examine the damage. A row of palm trees had been blown so hard that they lurched forward and broke windows in my building (my quarters were untouched). A bed of tulips had all heads snapped off, and they floated in a pool of muddy water. The underpasses, which have been carved underneath all the major thoroughfares in Taipei for safe pedestrian passage, were filled to the sidewalks, like small subterranean rivers. For days, uniformed National Guard-types patrolled the streets, cleaning up dead trees, branches, and water-damaged sidewalks. The rains continued, intermittently, for the next three days, but the damage was over by noon. The air was a little cleaner for a few days.
Related Fieldnotes: 1 2 3 4 5