Here Comes Typhoon Ruby…
UPDATE Sunday, December 7th 3:45 p.m. We are still waiting… Typhoon Ruby made landfall on the eastern side of the Philippines late last night and is very, very slowly crossing the country, dumping far too much rain on areas prone to flooding and landslides. I have no idea how much damage the storm has caused or if there has been loss of life. On the bright side, the storm’s wind strength has decreased because of running into land — and it is now just a normal typhoon rather than a super typhoon. There are conflicting forecasts for Ruby’s path, but one shows it hitting our town head on around midday tomorrow. I spent a few hours today preparing for the worst: putting all my potted plants inside the house, moving outdoor furniture and making sure that there is nothing in the yard that can be swept up by a fierce wind and hurled through our windows or the neighbors’ windows. It is still calm and peaceful, though the sky is darkening in the east. Kids are playing basketball next door. Our power is still on for now, though the power company always shuts it down before a storm arrives, to prevent downed live wires from bouncing around streets. The last time we were hit directly by the eye of a typhoon (2006), we had no electricity for three weeks. The thought of going through that again makes me very unhappy! If I have an internet connection tomorrow, I’ll give you another update. If I don’t have internet, I’ll see you when I can… May we all stay safe!
It seemed like a great idea, moving into a house with an open-air garden in the center of its living space. Having no roof over my tropical garden will be lots of fun, I told everyone. But now that Typhoon Ruby is currently projected to run pretty much directly over our house, the indoor garden idea isn’t quite as appealing.
Millions of us here in the Philippines are carefully watching every move that Ruby makes. The good news is that this massive storm has recently been downgraded from its super typhoon status, though its current winds are still strong enough and its rainfall heavy enough to cause some serious damage.
Adding to the stress is that I’m supposed to fly to Hong Kong on Monday morning, which is exactly the time Ruby has been predicted to cross my island. Boats from here to the main island of Luzon are still running today but it’s likely that the Coast Guard will cancel ferry traffic tomorrow, stranding residents and tourists until the storm ends next Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m crossing my fingers that Ruby will drastically change course or continue to weaken as it crosses the country.
In the meantime, I’ll try to change my Hong Kong flight and hotel reservations and will hope that my beautiful indoor garden is still beautiful a few days from now. I’ll let you know how it goes…
UPDATE Saturday, December 6th:
Typhoon Ruby has intensified and is once again a super typhoon. It is a slow moving storm and is expected to take days to cross the Philippines, dumping several inches of rain on the ground which will cause landslides and flash flooding.
I’ve cancelled my trip to Hong Kong and will go next week instead. The typhoon is remaining steadily on its projected track, which is still right over my island.
This morning is peaceful and quiet, with not a breath of wind. The calm before the storm…