July 14, 2010

Typhoon season came in with a bang last night.  The weather service had predicted the typhoon to hit north of Manila, so no one was really prepared here for anything more than a few heavy showers.  While it was no Ondoy in terms of the scale and scope of the damage, poor Nick and I experienced significantly more damage than anything we’d faced last year.

Here’s how the evening played out.  I woke up around 2 AM to find our building swaying slightly in the wind (like California, the structures are designed to flex back and forth to protect against typhoons and earthquakes).  Let’s just say that it feels really creepy when you’re in it.  Our aircon had shut off, so I knew the power must have gone out and we were using a generator (we are very lucky to have one in our building, by the way).

I walked over to the window to look at what was going on (the wind was howling and rain was pelting our windows 39 floors up).  All of a sudden I was standing in water.  Uh-oh.  I immediately woke Nick and we surveyed the damage.  It turned out that water was seeping up through the floor boards and pooling in both our master and guest bedrooms.  It was the most bizarre thing ever.  The window wasn’t even leaking, just this mysterious stream coming out of the floor.

What did we do?  We mopped!  And mopped and mopped and mopped.  Until the fire alarm started ringing.  And then we panicked.  Now, it is common knowledge in the building that  the alarm often goes off when there is no fire.  However, Nick and I are both of the mindset of “Better safe than sorry”.  So we dropped the mop and kicked into high gear – we got dressed, Nick grabbed the escape bag (I told you it’s handy), and we bolted for the stairs.

So down we went, all 39 floors.  Surprisingly, no one else was joining us.  We arrive panting in the lobby to find calm, cool and collected guards who inform us that there is no fire in the building.  You can imagine our frustration at hearing this, especially when they couldn’t explain why the alarm was going off.

But here’s where it gets really fun.  We walk back to the elevators only to discover that they are not working and there’s no ETA as to when they’ll be back up.  Crapistan.  Looks like we are spending some time in the lobby.  As minutes turned into hours I cozied into the plush micro-fiber cushions.  I would estimate we were there from 2-6 AM.  Here’s a little visual to bring the story to life:

Now, Nick got frustrated around 6 and made the trek up 39 floors.  I decided I was waiting it out until the elevator was back up – I was settling in nicely to my make-shift bed.  About 20 minutes after Nick made the climb, I was back up there too via the elevator.

Time to survey the damage.  Our bedrooms smelled like wet dog, but were not leaking nearly as bad now.  In addition, we now had water coming out of the ceiling in the guest bedroom.  I spent the day airing things out, catching up on sleep and contacting the Embassy to come out and look at it.

Some stats for Typhoon Conson:

  • 90% of the city was without power for the majority of today
  • 20 known dead thus far
  • winds were up to 120 kph
  • 1st typhoon of the season done, 20 or so to go

And that’s it folks.  There is no inspiring moral to this story.  Typhoons suck!  I’d take a blizzard any day…  :)

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  1. Nona Jordan says:

    I am so glad that you and your dear hubby are okay — that is so bizarre, water coming up from the floor and down from the ceiling…

    you are in my thoughts, darling Sarah.


  2. John says:

    So sorry to hear about what happened to you guys, you had a long night. Our power was cut off by midnight, winds were very strong not much rain but the howling winds were quite scary. Do you have power now? ours got back on this afternoon.

  3. Sara Roy says:

    1: Simon was born two days after a blizzard. It was almost safe to drive on the small roads, big roads were fine. I wonder how long it takes to recover the roads after a typhoon.

    2: I think I need to make an escape bag.

    3: We had an apartment that had floors that would puddle during a heavy rain when we lived in Dallas. We talked to the owners who said that it’s coming through the walls and pooling on the floor. No way to fix it. Great :( The puddles were a fixture in our lives for two years.

  4. minnesotagal says:

    I shouldn’t complain too much because we had power the whole time thanks to a generator. Hang in there… someone said there’s more strange weather coming!

  5. minnesotagal says:

    1. No idea.
    2. Yes you do, see my link for instructions on what to include.
    3. Fascinating, well that answers some questions…

  6. elise says:

    i can’t believe nick climbed 39 flights of stairs. i am dying with laughter.

  7. minnesotagal says:

    He told me he almost had a heart attack! :) I tried not to smile… he should have waited 20 more minutes and taken the elevator with me!

  8. Chris Coleman says:

    I like blizzards too – snuggle up near the fireplace, hot chocolate, a good book, hubby and fuzzy dog nearby for warmth! That positive blizzard attitude changes though around March when we’re on our 15th blizzard of the season!!! Hope you dry out soon!

  9. Bfiles says:

    goodness, this scares me a bit. be safe.

  10. minnesotagal says:

    Thanks Chris – we’re working through it! And I share your sentiments about blizzards…

  11. minnesotagal says:

    We’re doing our best! Never a dull moment around here…

  12. diplowife says:

    Did the Super,or whoever in charge explained why there was water seeping from your floor boards? That is bizarre. I used to live in a house that floods from the inside too, the gutter breaks exactly at the back of the house and the drainage couldn’t handle all the water coming in when it rains, making it run even to the house when not guarded. Point is I know how you feel, that must have been some experience.

  13. minnesotagal says:

    No, they’re still looking into it (and probably will be for some time knowing how long it takes to get things done here typically).

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