It’s 5 am local time in Shanghai, the city is overcast but not rainy yet. Yesterday we had intermittent rain all day, with periods of VERY heavy downpours which seemed to suggest “we were in for it” as far as tropical storms go. Our flight for Tokyo and then Detroit, Northwest 26, is scheduled to depart at 10 am local time. According to the weather models we read online last night, Typhoon Wipha is projected to make landfall here in Shanghai about 6 am. We are scheduled to depart for the airport at 7 am, so it will probably be raining by the time we leave.
Here is a current map showing the location and strength of Wipha along with its predicted stormtrack.
The good news is that it is now a category 3 typhoon, and of course will weaken when it makes landfall, so hopefully winds will be weak enough that our Boeing 747 will be able to take off. I’m expecting a delay, but the word is if we don’t check in we’ll lose our tickets. So we’re going to the airport.
We heard last night the Chinese government had evaculated about 200,000 people from the coastal areas of Shanghai, but Radio New Zealand is reporting this morning “More than 1.6 million people have been evacuated from Shanghai and the eastern province of Zhejiang in China.” According to the article:
Xinhua news agency said Typhoon Wiphia is expected to make landfall in the in the early hours of Wednesday, with wind gusts of up to 198 kilometres an hour. China’s National Meteorological Centre describes the storm as a “super typhoon”. It says its intensity is close to that of Typhoon Saomai, which killed more than 400 people last August and was considered the strongest storm to hit the country in 50 years. Xinhua said 1.63 million people in Shanghai, Zhejiang and neighbouring Fujian province had been evacuated by Tuesday evening. Shanghai and surrounding cities have ordered all schools to close. Thousands of boats and ships have returned to harbour in Zhejiang. State media said beach resorts and sea farms were evacuated and ferry services suspended.
From a travel standpoint, that report does not sound very encouraging.
According to the Associated Press as reported on CNN:
A typhoon expected to be the most powerful storm to hit China in a decade churned toward the densely populated coast on Tuesday with 165 mph wind gusts, and the government evacuated 1.8 million people… The deadliest storm to hit the China coast in recent years was Typhoon Winnie in 1997, which killed 236 people. Typhoon Rananim, with winds of more than 100 mph, was the strongest typhoon to hit the Chinese mainland since 1956, killing nearly 200 people.
The Shanghai airport where we depart is in Pudong and on the coast. I wish we had an alternative besides going to the airport in a typhoon, but we certainly cannot afford to lose our $1100 tickets to return to the United States. I’d guess our flight will be delayed and we’ll either be confirmed for the next flight departure tomorrow or placed on standby for it. This Northwest Airlines flight (26) is a daily flight each day from Shanghai to Tokyo to Detroit. According to the Northwest Airlines website the flight is still scheduled to depart on time, but we still have 4.5 hours before departure so it’s probably not surprising this hasn’t been revised yet.
There is not any wifi access from the airport in Pudong, Shanghai (according to Jeff) so if we get stuck there, my iPhone will be my only way to get online and I’m not likely to use it since I have no idea what the data charges would be. If we are delayed till tomorrow to depart, we’ll come back here to Puxi and our same hotel, I would guess, and get a room for an additional night.
So long from Shanghai, hopefully I’ll be blogging next from the Detroit airport.
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