Typhoon Bopha Update — Eerie Calm Over Palau

Palau is dead still right now, clinic with almost an eerie calmness. It belies the impending typhoon disaster that seems to be tracking its way directly for Palau. Any tropical cyclone approaching within 180 miles of Koror is considered a threat to Palau. The latest information has Typhoon Bopha approaching within 15 miles of Koror. In its steady approach, help Typhoon Bopha is gaining strength and is expected to reach Palau late Sunday evening with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour and gusts up to 155 miles per hour. This will be the most powerful storm Palau has experienced since before 1941.

Typhoon Bopha is projected to land in mid-Babeldoab with major impact to Palau’s city center Koror. Some businesses and households are beginning to prepare; however, this there seems to be a general sense of disbelief that the storm is coming and how powerful it will be when it arrives. Driving through the downtown city center only three or four businesses have boarded up their windows. Some locals have explained that “it always turns north” representing a general distrust in the meterological predictions for Typhoon Bopha.
Palau is an island nation with no building codes. A large majority of homes are built with wood frames and tin roofs. The potential for wide spread destruction is unfathomable. Residents of Palau’s northern state of Kayangel, a low lying atoll, have refused to evacuate and the government is not imposing a mandatory evacuation. The last large storm to hit Palau was Typhoon Marie in 1976 with peak gusts of of 86 mph. However, no severe storm has has ever been recorded as effecting Palau.  Typhoon Sally had recorded winds of only 89 miles in 1967.  Typhoon Sally in 1967 caused wide spread destruction.

5 thoughts on “Typhoon Bopha Update — Eerie Calm Over Palau”

  1. hurricaneavoider

    Got out of Palau yesterday in a big hurry. I live in New Orleans, we understand what a hurricane can do. I could not believe how the Palauans were taking no action to prepare for this event. The staff at the hotel were not informing the guests, not giving any instructions and making only minimal preparations to the hotel. If this hits, its going to be bad. I wish them the best of luck but someone there needs to tell them what this can do. It was
    one of my group who found the storm warning on the internet. We heard nothing on Palauan TV until hours before we left.

  2. As with the person above, we cut our vacation short and were on the last flight off the island last night. That was after being told by the hotel staff that the ast flight was fully booked and there was no way we could leave. Luckily, I like to hear things first hand for myself and I got a number for the agents at the airport and called the myself.
    I have to echo the comments about the lack of information to the resort guests and the complete lack of preparedness for what is about to happen. Luckily, we are weather savy and had veen tracking ths storm since it formed well west of our vacations spot,
    The poor people there seem to think bringing in the patio furnature and putting masking tape on the windows counts a being well prepared for a super typhoon. Not there fault, they just have no concept of what is about to happen. Just before we left, the maid arrived to do a turn down service on our room. All I could think was “shouldnt you be home preparing”? Even yesterday afternoon, gardners were in the grounds manicuring flowers.
    To all the wonderful people of Palau, stay safe.

  3. My wyfe and I have just left Palau with one of the last flights at 01:45 am Sunday Dec 3. We confirm what the other comments report and add that we were alerted about the typhoon by the Diving we were out with. They were aware of the danger, started to get ready well ahead, and offered shelter in a concrete building they were gearing up. In the hotel we were staying the situation was somewhat downplayed till late Friday- early Saturday, possibly not to panic the guests. However some of the employees were worried if not scared. It must be hard going to work and caring for foreigners when your family might be in danger. Nonetheless they were kind, supportive and brave till the last moment we saw them. We hope some of their families may get shelter in the concrete parts of the Resort. Our hearts are with them in this difficult moment

  4. sorry about a wrong date in my post. We left Palau at 1:45 am of Sunday 2, not 3. The airport closed a few hours afterwards

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