As a stock-market trader I have to be constantly aware of the kind of macro-economic, geopolitical and geophysical events and risks which can affect global markets. Depending on where they occur, hurricanes and typhoons are one of the variables to be tracked due to their direct influence over oil prices where producing fields are threatened, not to mention the economic fallout from the devastation caused by landfall.
Two days ago tropical storm Man-yi formed in the Philippine sea and headed towards Taiwan and the Japanese Kyushu Islands gathering strength. Computer models now show the storm strengthening into a Category 4 typhoon by Thursday evening, meaning it will have sustained wind speeds of 131-155mph. On the face of it the furthest forecasts show it heading towards the Chinese coast. However, this is where the computer models take over, and beyond the immediate forecast they are predicting a turn north which have it heading directly towards Kyushu itself and possibly South Korea beyond. Perched on the south-east corner of the Korean Peninsula, it does look as though Busan may be in the emerging typhoon's path this weekend. These computer models are probably no more than 50% accurate though so it may yet not make that turn and hit China instead, or do something else the machines don't predict.
Under the circumstances it's a rather sobering thought to consider that our apartment is no more than 500 meters away from the sea in a rather low-lying area, and I can only imagine that a storm surge would be a problem for parts of the district. As the UK doesn't really get hurricanes, I've never sat through one, and while storms with gusts up to 100mph are not uncommon it's clearly not the same thing at all. Even if Man-yi decides not to pay a visit to Korea, I suppose it's only a matter of time before a typhoon catches up with me.
But if Man-yi does end up in our part of the world by the weekend, by an ironic twist of fate we probably won't be here. My wife has been summoned to the British Embassy in Seoul on Monday as part of her application for a spousal visa and we've already planned a weekend up there seeing some of the sights.
Korean keywords: 날씨, 태풍, 바람, 비