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Typhoon Muifa takes a turn for the worseAmid high winds and heavy rain, photographer Douglas MacDonald drove around Jeju City to capture the event
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승인 2011.08.08  10:31:02
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Typhoon Muifa facts
Winds in Jeju on Aug. 7 recorded at between 17 and 28 meters per second. Highest speed was 38 meters per second
Rainfall in Jeju on Aug. 7: Between 20 and 40 centimeters
Number of delayed and canceled flights on Aug. 7: 370
Numbers of stranded passengers on Aug. 7: Approx. 30,000
Many reports of downed trees, broken windows and doors, signs ripped from buildings



▲ Courtesy Korea Meteorological Administration
I awoke on Sunday to the faint sounds of wind and rain lightly pattering against my bedroom window. I was surprised as Typhoon Muifa was expected to arrive soon. Little did I know it was just the calm before the storm.

As if on queue, loudspeakers began to blare all around my apartment complex, announcing the imminent arrival of the typhoon. Within minutes powerful gusts of wind reaching speeds of more than 100 km/h and heavy torrents of rain battered my windows relentlessly. I made some breakfast, sat down on my sofa and opened my computer. I was ready to wait out the storm until it had passed.

▲ Damage at the author's home. Photo by Douglas MacDonald

Over the next hour the winds gained strength. My windows shook violently until, suddenly, there was a loud crash as all the windows on my veranda shattered, throwing shards of glass across my room. When the winds had died down a few minutes later, I went to my veranda to inspect the damage. The floor was flooded and there was broken glass everywhere, the window frames now bent husks.

▲ Damage around Jeju City, taken on Aug. 7. Photo by Douglas MacDonald
▲ Damage around Jeju City, taken on Aug. 7. Photo by Douglas MacDonald

▲ Photo by Douglas MacDonald

The worst of the storm passed over Jeju at about 3 p.m. I waited for another hour just to make sure it was safe and then I made my way to my car, intent on documenting the impact of the storm. Signs of the storm's wrath were everywhere: a collapsed sign on a sidewalk near Ora Stadium, a mass of debris piled up around the entrance of a corner store near Jeju City Hall, a broken tree branch blocking traffic near Yongduam.

▲ Thousands of people were stranded in Jeju International Airport Sunday evening, as hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled due to high winds. Photo by Douglas MacDonald



▲ Photo by Douglas MacDonald


I arrived at Tapdong at about 7 p.m. Huge waves rolled across the ocean and crashed into the sea wall behind E-Mart. A solitary couple walked dangerously along the adjacent boardwalk as sheets of rain poured down. I rushed out of my car and as I ran towards them to snap a picture, strong winds ripped my baseball hat off my head and it flew into the sea.

I entered the airport an hour later and was met by a scene of total chaos. As all flights had been delayed or cancelled, hundreds of people milled about the departures area or crowded into the shops, madly buying up all the snacks they could find, while others rested on flattened cardboard boxes on the floor, glum looks of exhaustion on their faces. An older man was arguing with a young airline representative about his flight to the mainland. There was no chance he would fly home tonight.

As I drove back to my apartment, the winds picked up speed again. Typhoon Muifa was not yet ready to release its grip on the island. This was going to be a long night...

▲ Photo by Douglas MacDonald
▲ Photo by Douglas MacDonald

▲ Thousands of people were stranded in Jeju International Airport Sunday evening, as hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled due to high winds. Photo by Douglas MacDonald
▲ Photo by Douglas MacDonald

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