On September 8th, 2015 typhoon Soudelor made landfall on Taiwan. I’ve been wanting to record a typhoon for some time now, but haven’t thought of a good way to do it. Dangerous winds and rain aren’t part of a good recipe for a field recording! So I figured when one came, I would stick a mic out the window and see how it goes.
Soudelor hit in the early hours and at some point our power went out. I had to deal with that and some other things and managed to get real tired. Right when it started to get good, I passed out. 🙁 But I managed to wake up and capture a few moments of the wind and rain.
Unfortunately what I captured didn’t impress me. Big gusts sound great and make for a good recording. But the sustained winds don’t sound like much without visual context. Next time I’ll consider videoing as well. Soudelor went through the middle of Taiwan. I’m located in the south, so we missed the brunt of it. The location of my house didn’t help much either. The wind must get cut down a lot by the neighboring houses. Despite that, there’s some open area behind my house – it sounded much better than the front.
Here are some raw recordings of the typhoon along with pictures to offer some context…
4th floor, inside
4th floor, door open
3rd floor, outside window
2nd floor, outside balcony
1st floor, front, garage
Everything recorded with a Soundfield SPS200 and Tascam DR-680
Only the first recording inside the house really gives you a feel for what was going on outside. There are a few gusts from time to time in the outside recordings, but all in all they just sounded like a rainy day.
I would love to find a location with plenty of open space and a good protective area to record the next typhoon. But the realities of a typhoon make it nearly impossible for me. I’d have to ride out the entire thing there. I’d leave my family to fend for themselves. If there was a problem, could I get away safely? The only other possibility would be to leave your equipment there ahead of time with a large SD card at a lower setting. But who the heck is really going to do that!? Not me and my gear.
If you have any ideas on how to record a typhoon/hurricane, please leave your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to read them.