Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Progress of Typhoon SOULIK - Now Just A Tropical Storm

Typhoon SOULIK passed over Taiwan (23 million people) with lots of rain, heavy winds, and flooding in several places. The storm has now been downgraded to a tropical storm with winds averaging at 70 MPH and wind gusts of 85 MPH. The storm is expected to slowly weaken as it moves through China in a northern direction.
Presently, Fujian province is taking the brunt of the storm, as it has now gone on-shore in mainland China, and affecting towns like Fuzhou, and Nanping, Wenzhou and several other towns along the coast. In approximately 24 hours, the storm will have gone inland to affect towns such as Jinhua, Jiujiang, Anqing, and Hefei. These towns most likely will almost take a direct hit from the storm. When the storm reaches these towns, the wind-speed should be cut in half to around 35 MPH. This is great news. The only downfall is that the storm continues to be slow moving, approximately 14-15 MPH. An over-abundance of rain will be felt in this entire area of the storm, continued flooding inland with mudslides from mountainous areas.
In the past, mudslides in many cases have caused many human casualties, as people become trapped by the mud and get buried alive. So at this point in the storm, the strength of the storm may not be a factor, but the bi-products of the storm, the excessive rain and flooding, triggering mudslides is definitely a serious factor and have already contributed to several deaths.
Prior to reaching mainland China, the storm ravaged Tiawan early Saturday morning.  The storm dumped at least 8 inches of rain on the capital city of Taipei, and topped 14 inches in the mountainous regions in less than 24 hours. There has been at least 1 known death because of the storm in Tiawan. Substantial flooding as occurred, as witness by the attached CNN video.

Prior to reaching the China mainland, there were hundreds of thousands of people evacuated from China's southeastern coast on Saturday. In Fujian province alone, there were at least 305,000 people to leave their homes. When the storm actually reached the mainland, SOULIK was running at approximately 117 kilometers per hour (73 MPH). Tiawan took allot of the punch out of the storm which was good news, but in south-central China, the heavy rains triggered flooding and landslides. Unfortunately, I am able to report that dozens of people have been killed, and there are at least 100 people missing, most likely washed away or buried by the landslides in mainland China. The missing are from Sichuan province according to officials there. As expected flights in or out of a very popular airport named Changel were cancelled, up to about 140 flights so far.

Recent torrential rains across large post of China have left 200 people dead or missing from previous weather systems.

Prior to reaching Taiwan, on July 12th a picture was taken from space on NASA's Aqua satellite. The picture below is a NASA image courtesy of Jeff Schmaltz, of the Lance/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. The storm was moving west across the Pacific Ocean on a course to strike Taiwan. As you view the picture below, imagine winds from this storm at a minimum of 100 MPH or 170 km/hr. It actually was downgraded at that time when it reached its maximum strength of 140 MPH or 230 km/hr. Observe the size of the storm, versus the size of Taiwan just to the west of the storm as it approaches the island.

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