In the eye of a storm

Updated: August 08 2009(GMT+08:00)

They flock to coastal cities and peer at satellite images, observing keenly water temperature data, convection patterns and wind paths. And as soon as they hear the first rumblings, they dash out into the open and brace themselves to take the full force of the approaching gale.

They are the typhoon chasers.

"Analyzing satellite cloud pictures, the convection seems weak, even weaker than in the Beibu Gulf region. We need to continue to track this."

This is no report penned by a professional meteorologist but a posting on a typhoon forum,, the official forum of the Shanghai Typhoon Institute under the China Meteorological Administration.

It brings together people who collect, analyze and share information on typhoons and are often able to make as accurate a prediction as a professional weather watcher.

"Many of our typhoon forum members were accurate in their predictions of the direction and intensity of "Lin-Fa", the third tropical storm of this year which landed on Fujian on June 21," says Chen Yixiao, just 23 and the forum's webmaster.

However, this is no mean task. According to Chen, a typhoon fan needs to spend at least a whole wind season, such as every June to October, to acquire a basic understanding of how typhoons occur and then spend an entire winter investigating cold weather patterns.

News Source: Chinadaily
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