– TYPHOONS –
Typhoons destroy about 1.5% of the national product of South East Asian countries every year. Much of this damage cannot be avoided, even using the most modern technology.
However, because of the need to give people as much warning as possible, an international network of meteorological stations keeps watch on the movement of typhoons. A typhoon warning centre, established by the UK on the island of Guam in 1959, regularly sends aircraft into suspected storm areas to measure winds, movement and pressure.
Orbiting continuously around the world, satellites take pictures and plot changes in the direction of storms. However, problems still remain because 24-hour forecasts of storm movements can be inaccurate by as much as 100 miles, and 3-day predictions are often 300 miles off course.
For example, in 1960 Typhoon Mary appeared to be heading for land about 70 miles west of Hong Kong, but it changed course during the night and smashed through the centre of the area in the early hours of the morning. This typhoon left 11 people dead, 11 missing, 130 injured and about 300 boats sunk or wrecked. Another example is Typhoon Vera, which crashed across Taiwan on August 1, 1977. It left 38 people dead and 175 injured, and crippled the seaport city of Keelung.
Power supplies to about 60% of Taipei’s two million people were cut for about two days and the enormous gales flattened 54 houses. They partially damaged another in the island’s northern and central areas.
Among other effects, two major fires broke out in Taipei City and one of these burned down stores. Needless to say, the cost of all this damage was enormous and disasters of this kind are unfortunately repeated many times a year throughout the world. Control of typhoons lies in understanding them better. Good predictions are a method of control because action can be taken to limit their destructive force.
For better understanding and improved predictions of typhoons, scientists must learn much more about tropical weather, and some major research projects, such as the Global Atmospheric Research Programme, begun in 1974, are now under way. Meteorologists also consider the possibility of modifying the typhoon’s direction by seeding hurricane clouds to force them to release their rain before they would under normal conditions.
However, researchers in Asia are doubtful about the advisability of interfering with typhoons although they cost the region a great deal in money and lives. They warn that because man does not yet have sufficientknowledge, he should not yet begin large-scale weather modification.
Much of Asia’s vital food-growing areas lie in easily flooded, open delta lands along the sea coast and so any substantial change in weather patterns could have potentially disastrous effects. It is estimated that as much as 25% of the water required for Asian paddy fields and reservoirs comes from typhoons, and so it seems better to have typhoon damage than to have no typhoons at all.
For example, in the autumn of 1974, Hong Kong residents were warned to prepare themselves for water rationing. The reservoirs were very low because of a long drought. The outlook was bad, but then two typhoons in a month provided Hong Kong’s reservoirs with 22 billion gallons of water. Since typhoons cannot be prevented, the best that can be done is to develop typhoon warning systems, such as the one in Hong Kong itself.
In 1975, a number of other Asian nations requested typhoon predictions from Hong Kong and a computer now helps in the 55 preparation of these valuable forecasts. Prediction is not the only important issue, however. For the community to be prepared for a typhoon is as important as a warning. Countries are now encouraged to create their own national disaster organisations, which will respond to emergencies with temporary housing, food, medical aid and communications.
People in vulnerable coastal villages are being taught how to build large safety mounds higher than the flood level in order to protect themselves against flooding.
Mark the best choice.
1. Line 7, ‘suspected storm areas’ means areas .
a) which are situated in South East Asia b) where satellites orbit
c) where storms can occur d) whose pictures are taken
2. Due to the developments in technology, .
a) the damage caused by typhoons cannot be avoided
b) better devices Hke satellites can be used in the prediction of typhoons
c) it Is still impossible to make accurals predictions
d) the need to warn people has become a greater problem
3. According to the predictions, Typhoon Mary was going tc .
a) hit ihe centre of Hong Kong
b) change direction during the night
c) reach the land eariy in the morning
d) hit an area seventy miles away from Hong Kong
4. Typhoon Vera .
a) was more destructive than Typhoon Mary
b) caused 60% of the population to suffer from injuries
c) started on August 1st and continued for two days
d) Both (a) and (b) are correct.
5. Learning about tropical weather .
a) can limit the destructive force of typhoons
b) is essential to predict typhoons better
c) began in 1974 as a major research project
d) is necessary before seeding is done
6. Line 35, ‘they would* means .
a) meteorologists would modify the typhoon’s direction
b) hurricane clouds would release their rain
c) meteorologists would seed hurricane clouds
d) hurricane clouds would change the typhoon’s direction
7. According to Asian researchers,
. a) it is better not to interfere with typhoons
b) typhoons cause a lot of money to be wasted
c) large-scale weather modification is not possible
d) people should be warned about insufficient knowledge
8. Asia’s food-growing areas .
a) can be seriously affected by major changes in weather patterns
b) obtain water from areas which are along the coast
c) are in a potential danger of destruction
d) need typhoon damage to get the water they need
9. in 1974, .
a) the residents of Hong Kong were expecting typhoons
b) twenty-two billion gallons of water was used in Hong Kong
c) two typhoons supplied water for Hong Kong’s reservoirs
d) Hong Kong suffered from a drought as there was tt’.’p water in reservoirs
10. Line 55, ‘these valuable forecasts’ refers to .
a) the development of typhoon warning systems
b) preventive measures against typhoons
c) typhoon predictions
d) the help from Hong Kong
11. Which of the following is not true?
a) Communities have to be prepared for civil emergencies.
b) Building safety mounds can protect people living on the coast against flooding.
c) National disaster organisations warn people about typhoons.
d) People may need temporary housing during emergencies.