A housewife pastes wet newspapers on the windows of her apartment’s veranda in Daejeon in advance of Typhoon Bolaven, Tuesday. / Yonhap
By Na Jeong-ju
“Let’s put wet newspapers on windows of houses to prevent Typhoon Bolaven from breaking them. Wet newspapers will help windows withstand strong winds.”
The National Emergency Management Agency posted this message on its website as the typhoon, the strongest in a decade, was approaching the country. It cited a television program that showed wet newspapers increase surface tension on windows and absorb vibrations created by winds more easily.
But is this really effective?
A blogger posted a photo, titled, “The Defeat of Newspapers,” on Wednesday, saying wet newspapers were useless in protecting windows from a powerful storm.
The photo shows shattered windows in a living room. The blogger said he put wet newspapers on windows as the winds became stronger.
“I had to spray water every two hours at night to keep the newspapers wet because the TV program said only wet newspapers can protect windows. But it didn’t work,” he said.
Some bloggers said the windows broke because the winds were too powerful but others say it’s a foolish idea to use wet newspapers to cope with a typhoon.
The effectiveness is a much-disputed online issue now as another powerful typhoon, Tembin, is on its way to the peninsula. The typhoon will dump more than 30 millimeters of rain per hour on the nation, and in some regions, such as the south and west coasts as well as parts of Jeju Island, downpours of 150 millimeters per hour are expected, according to forecasters.
The method has drawn interest from President Lee Myung-bak, too.
During a surprise visit to the Korea Meteorological Administration on Tuesday, Lee praised the agency for “promoting the idea of using wet newspapers publicly,” reports said.
“It’s important to help people take appropriate measures in their homes and offices to protect themselves from typhoons. I saw the news about wet newspapers,” he said.
Cho Min-je, a 15-year-old student in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, shared his experience on his blog, saying he won’t use wet newspapers any more.
“Wet newspapers dried very quickly, so my family had to spray water all night. We couldn’t sleep,” Cho said. “Are there any more convenient and more efficient methods to keep my home safe from a storm?”
Another typhoon is expected to batter Korea Friday, leaving people wondering whether they should bother putting wet newspapers on their windows again.
Typhoon Tembin is moving northward after hitting Taiwan. It is expected to reach waters off Busan by Thursday morning, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).