The first named storm of 2016 has become a violent Typhoon that rivals some of the best known typhoons on record.
- The storm continues to maintain a Cat. 5 equivalent intensity today with superb banding around it giving the classic “buzz saw” shape only seen in the most intense storms.
- TAIWAN will see the worst conditions overnight Thursday in to Friday in South East Taiwan between Taitung and Hualien City. Yet depending on where the storm exactly makes landfall anywhere along the eastern sea board north of the storms center of circulation is under the threat of damaging winds.
- Flooding and Landslides will be the main issue in Taiwan. The mountains of the island extend up to 3,000 meters and are well known for squeezing out moisture from Typhoons. In 2009 typhoon Morokat dropped over 3 meters of rainfall killing nearly 800 people on the island.
- Follow James Reynolds @earthuncuttv and Josh Morgerman (Facebook icyclone) on Twitter and Facebook. They are some of the worlds most experienced storm chasers and will be documenting the inside of this Super Typhoon.
- Ishigaki and Miyako Jima should still watch it closely as the right side of the storm will side swipe the islands bringing damaging winds up to 126kph at times. Good news these islands are built for these kind of storms but the storm will be keeping people hunkered down through Friday afternoon.
Where is it Now?
It is currently intensifying in the classic “Philippine sea effect” way. A region of low vertical wind shear and warm sea surface temperatures has allowed the storm to blow up from a weak Typhoon Tuesday morning to nearly a Cat 5 Wednesday morning. Furthermore the storm has become a perfect definition of a “annular” storm allowing to maintain its intensity as it nears landfall.
The visible sat loop from Sunrise Thursday morning shows incredible outflow from the storm, a well defined eye and a dangerous eye wall. Key thing as well is the eye is not that large, this indicates it is a very compact and dangerous storm. The inner eye wall could have sustained winds over 200kph. Which at landfall may last several hours.
Landfall In Taiwan
Confidence is building on a landfall in South East Taiwan between Taitung and Hualien City. Areas just north of the center of circulation will take the brunt of the winds with the peak being just prior to sunrise and at sunrise Friday morning.
The coastal and inland mountain range will do its classic job of squeezing out the moisture from the storm. The rain bands could surge on shore ushering in up to 500mm of rainfall or more. This is common with the mountains of Taiwan as the steep hill sides act as a wall squeezing out any moisture that pushes on shore over the island.
Landslides are always a major problem with land falling storms in Taiwan, often coastal roads can be blocked and impassible especially just north of Hualien City along the east coast. The photo below shows where the highest threats of flooding and landslides are located.
Landfall in China
The storm very well could re-intensify over the Taiwan Strait before slamming in to Fujian and then tracking north along the China East Coast. This is extremely problematic as that entire area continues to deal with flooding from the rainy season front this past month. This past week alone over 120 people have died and millions have been effected by the floods.
The ground obviously already Saturday and with rivers overflowing additional rainfall will only spell for additional flooding. Especially for those locations in the Yangzi river basin.