Monday, September 23, 2013

Typhoon Usagi Kills At Least 25 In China

Typhoon Usagi moved ashore yesterday to the east of Hong Kong with 90 mph maximum winds, bringing with it heavy rain and wind that have contributed to the deaths of at least 25 individuals in South China, according to Chinese officials.

80,000 evacuated in advance of the storm, which garnered a "level 8" warning on the Hong Kong warning signal scale. The Hong Kong signal system uses a one to ten ranking, skipping some numbers along the way, to indicate the level of impact of a tropical cyclone on local residents.

Usagi, which had been modeled by most tropical and operation guidance to make landfall very close to Hong Kong, instead moved ashore about 150 miles east-northeast of the city and tracked inland to the city's north, sparing Hong Kong the brunt of the storm but still producing very heavy rainfall and winds that reached 54 mph in gusts. China's coastline near Hong Kong is such that slight deviations in track make huge differences in terms of landfall point for storms -- and in the case of Usagi, a slightly more northerly track in the storm brought it ashore much farther east of Hong Kong than guidance suggested.

Radar shot of Usagi at landfall along South China coastline.
At one point, Usagi was the strongest storm of the year as it sported maximum winds of 160 mph to the east of Taiwan and Luzon.

Usagi near peak intensity on Thursday. Pic via Colorado State.

Throughout the balance of the globe, there's only one other tropical system on the first day of autumn -- Pabuk, which is expected to track over open water in the Western Pacific over coming days.