Category Archives: Tropical Cyclones

A large circulation sproducing heavy rainfall, very strong winds and storm surges

Typhoon Megi – Taiwan September 25 to 27 2016

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The north west Pacific Ocean is the worlds most prolific region for tropical storms and certain regions are highly vulnerable to such storms. The country of Taiwan in particular is no stranger to such storms and barely 2 weeks after a Category 5 typhoon grazed the southern tip of the island and another Category 4 storm traversed along the east coast, another strong typhoon is looming for the island.

The named storm Megi transitioned from a tropical storm overnight into an impressive spiral shaped typhoon west of Guam and is now travelling towards the island. Landfall is expected in approximately 2 days.

Forecast models show a storm reaching Category 3 on the Saffir Simpson Scale just prior to landfall with winds of approximately 110 knots (Approximately 204 km/h) and higher gusts to 135 knots (Approximately 250 km/h).

The storm is supported by an ocean with temperatures of 30C although ocean temperatures adjacent to Taiwan have dropped to 28C which may have an impact on the intensity of the storm just before landfall.

Should the storm sustain its forecast track, this would make it the third typhoon within three weeks to affect the island in some way. It would strike the east coast with very heavy rain and winds and weaken as it traversed the mountainous island. The worst affected region would be the least populous east coast with the mountain barrier offering an effective barrier to the more densely populated west coast.

This storm clearly shows how vulnerable the island is to powerful tropical storms within the north west Pacific Ocean.

CREDITS

CIMSS – Forecast model for Typhoon Megi dated 26 September 2016.
CIRA - Enhanced Infra red image of Typhoon Megi dated 26 September 2016.

Super Typhoon Meranti strikes Taiwan 14 and 15 September 2016

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Typhoon Meranti was born as a tropical storm west of Guam and rapidly intensified into a significant typhoon. The storm exceeded initial forecasts and became a Category 5 super typhoon with peak winds at the core estimated at 160 knots (Upwards of 300 km/h winds).

The storm tracked north west towards Taiwan with the eye passing barely to the south of the island. Much of southern and eastern Taiwan was heavily impacted by the storm with significant property damage being reported as well as landslides and power outages. There is substantial damage to infrastructure including electricity networks.

This was a very damaging and a large typhoon that impacted three countries being the northern Philippines, Taiwan and south east China. The storm made final landfall near Xiamen in Fujian Province. It is known that there are 10 fatalities to date across Fujian and Zhejiang Provinces in south east China.

The storm has caused 1 known fatality across Taiwan with at least 44 injured. The storm has been more deadlier for China due to its impact on a region with a large population.

The impact of the typhoon across eastern and southern Taiwan is dramatic and rainfall totals reached more than 800 mm in places. This has occurred due to the storm colliding with a mountainous landmass. Orographic influences enhanced rainfall which can be seen on the attached rainfall plot of Taiwan.

Maximum rainfall figures from the event includes:-

859 mm at Xidawushan Station - Taiwu Township in Pingtung County.
802 mm at Xinwu-3 Station - Haiduan Township in Taitung County.
779 mm at Jinghenshan Station - Jin Feng Township in Taitung County.
720 mm at Tianxiang Station - Xiulin Township in Hualien County.

The storm has generated landslides, significant property damage and flooding.

It is interesting to note the incredible differences in rainfall across the island. Much of the west and north west was unscathed while the south east was deluged with rainfall.

The storm broke apart once it made landfall across south east China.

Based on CIMSS data, the storm sustained maximum peak winds of approximately 160 knots between the 12 and 14 September (Approximately 300 km/h). While media outlets suggest higher gusts, the best estimate of peak winds are provided in the plot below which suggests winds not exceeding 160 knots. With the eye of the storm over open waters, it makes it difficult to obtain accurate data on peak wind gusts at the time the storm reached peak intensity.

In addition to the above, a second powerful Typhoon is edging northwards just off the east coast of Taiwan which is named Typhoon Malakas. The storm is also giving the east coast of Taiwan a glancing blow although it appears the eye should pass along and off the coast and landfall is not expected. The storm has reached Category 4 on the Saffir Simpson Scale with peak winds to 115 knots (Approximately 213 km/h). This shows how prone Taiwan is to such powerful and often deadly storms.

An impressive radar image of the storm as well as its eye is attached to the post which shows how close the storm has come to the east coast of the country.

CREDITS

1 - Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan - Rainfall plots acquired 16 September 2016.
2 - CIMSS - Various images, forecast tracks and wind speed plots acquired September 14 to 17 2016.
3 - CIRA - False image of Super Typhoon Meranti acquired 13 September 2016.
4 - NASA Worldview with overlays - Satellite photo of Super Typhoon Meranti acquired 13 and 14 September 2016.

Typhoon Meranti 12 September 2016

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A new tropical storm is developing in the western Pacific Ocean and is expected to undergo a transition to a typhoon within the next 12 to 24 hours.

This storm is named Meranti and should pass to the north of the Philippines.

The storm is forming over waters of 30C to 31C and has potential to be very significant. Within two days, Meranti could transition into a Category 4 typhoon sustaining winds in excess of 120 knots (Greater than 220 km/h). The CIMSS forecast model for Sunday suggests the storm making landfall over the east coast of Taiwan as a Category 4 typhoon. This is what makes the storm potentially significant.

Eastern Taiwan has been hit by a number of powerful storms over recent years and this one has potential to be another such storm should it sustain the forecast path.

This is one storm to watch over coming days as it gains strength and travels north west towards Taiwan.

A recent satellite image shows the storm gaining strength and transitioning towards a typhoon. Convection is visible at the centre of the storm although an eye has not developed.

CREDITS

1 - CIMSS - Forecast model of Meranti acquired Sunday 11 September 2016.
2 - CIRA - Infra red image of birth of storm Meranti.
3 - NASA Worldview - Satellite image of Meranti acquired 11/9/2016.

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