With 125mph winds and 12ft waves, Super Typhoon Mangkhut may be the most powerful storm of 2018.
What it means: Typhoons are pretty bad. But super typhoons are, well, super-bad. If you’re on the skinny side, a 45 mph wind could blow you off your feet. At its worst, Super Typhoon Mangkhut was almost three times as strong, which means it was powerful enough to blow away all of us, our cars, and pretty much anything else standing in its way. Yikes.
Being hit by a storm like Mangkhut is not good for people (over 200 were killed or injured) or the economy. But calculating the economic cost of Mangkhut is hard, because it depends on what you count as damage and how much you value those damaged things.
So while it's easy enough to add up all the money spent on rebuilding destroyed roads and buildings, it can be tricky to figure out how much countries lose from things like would-be tourists deciding not to visit the Philippines, or employees in Hong Kong missing work because of storm-related injuries or train cancellations.
(Btw, if you’re wondering what makes a typhoon different from a cyclone or hurricane, the answer is nothing. They’re all big-ass storms, but for some reason scientists call them by different names depending on where in the world they happen. Mangkhut hit the Southwest Pacific, so it’s a typhoon).
We’ve moved beyond a world where your country was all that matters. Our economies have become bigger than we realise. Things we use are less and less likely to come from our own country and more likely to have been imported from a country across the globe – this has become so normal that we’ve forgotten what a huge implication this has for how our economies work…