Vietnam due to its’ location faces tropical storms and typhoons every year. For us, it’s a completely new experience so we didn’t know what to expect. For some time now temperatures were much lower and it rained a bit nearly every day. It was like a prelude to what was coming. The first time we saw tropical storm warning in the news we searched all possible information on how to prepare for it. Local people know what to expect and what to do and we have seen a lot of preparations just before the first big storm was to hit us. Boats on the beach have been pulled closer to the land and covered with weights to keep it in place. Restaurants and hotels around us secured anything that could fly away. Large windows in shops were covered with adhesive tape and papers sometimes.
Tropical storm preparations
We decided to prepare for a possible power outage by recharging all electronics and power bank, filtered some extra water just in case and cooked some extra food that can be eaten cold. Not knowing how strong winds can become so just in case we also removed any moving objects from the balcony to make sure it doesn’t break our window. We informed our coworkers that we may not be online for a day or two. After that, all that was left to do was watching the news and windy website.
That’s what I call a storm!
Our first tropical storm was an interesting experience. We love to watch storms so we were glued to the window. The wind was strong but not as strong as we expected but it still managed to make a lot of scary noises. Rain and thunderstorm though it was something else. The rain was so heavy you could hardly see buildings across the street. It seemed to rain from every direction. All the sudden story about rain from Forest Gump made perfect sense.
Thunder and lightning strikes went one after another. We have never seen anything like this. It lasted an hour maybe two and then it was perfectly quiet for a moment. I suspect we were in the eye of the storm for that short moment because the wind and rain came back later again. This time not as strong as before though.
This storm caused floods and landslides in the other part of the city and neighbouring historic city Hoi An. Buildings on our street were in good shape. We didn’t see that much damage here. Only a lot of rubbish everywhere and bikes lying on the ground. That was surprising to us. We live in a building right next to the beach so we expected it will hit harder here. Instead, districts closer to mountains suffered the worst of it.
Two weeks later another storm came. This one looked much stronger and scarier than the previous one. For some reason, we felt safer after previous experience and we didn’t prepare that much this time. That was a mistake! Luckily local people are not that stupid and started their preparations a couple of days before it was supposed to hit us.
This time wind was so strong that our big balcony window made a lot of scary noises and kept moving and banging. In the end, we decided to keep it wide open. We were afraid that if we don’t do it the window will break at some point. It’s a sliding door so one was protecting the other. That felt safer but also it was much louder inside and pressure jumps were very unpleasant for our ears. At least this time didn’t rain that much.
We’ve heard a lot of noises and kept going back on the balcony to see what is happening. We’ve seen roof tiles and tiles from balconies falling off, big objects like food stalls moving on the street, all bikes parked outside giving up and falling down on the ground. All lighter objects were flying high in the sky. We were on the 15th floor but many objects were way higher than that. First time I saw so many things in the air I thought it was birds. That didn’t make much sense but that’s exactly what came to my mind at first. When I looked closer I noticed those are papers, some cloth and even thin metal pieces.
Aftermath of Molave
During this storm happened something we weren’t prepared… this time! Power outage! We’ve seen the moment it happened and at it was the point we knew we’re screwed. We didn’t have any extra food prepared. We didn’t charge our power bank. From that moment our laptops became power banks for our phones so we could still inform everyone about our situation and monitor the news.
The next day when everything calmed down we went out to get a coffee and see the scope of the damage. Local people have already cleaned some of it the night before but they couldn’t clean everything because the storm ended late afternoon and without light, it’s not easy. We were surprised to see people still smiling and joking even though they suffered a lot of damage. Some store and restaurant windows were broken, trees and power lines on the ground, missing roof tiles on many buildings. Lady that served our coffee said with a huge smile she’s lucky – one of her stalls is still here and she can work. She can’t find the other one though. Those people are amazing! Happy no matter what.
For us, it was an interesting experience. We didn’t suffer any damages. All we did was simply observing what is happening around us. After that, we decided to go to local small restaurants and street food stalls more often though to support those people who not only lost a lot of income due to covid-19 and closed borders but also now because of the weather.