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Saturday, July 11, 2015

super typhoon Chan-hom threatens China

Three tropical cyclones — Linfa, Chan-hom and Ningka — are churning across the Pacific Ocean toward Asia this week in a recent spike of typhoon activity in the region. The massive Typhoon Chan-hom will prove to be the most destructive of the three as it nears China’s most populous city of Shanghai over the next 48 hours.  Thousands of people were today evacuated from China's eastern Zhejiang province as the country was put on the highest alert for super typhoon Chan-Hom.The super typhoon, approaching with a windspeed of up to 187 kilometers per hour, is expected to make a landfall tonight or early tomorrow between the coastal areas of Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.

The National Meteorological Center issued a red alert, the highest, for Chan-Hom whose center was spotted 550 kilometers southeast off the coast of Zhejiang Province at 5 a.m today.The Fujian provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters ordered all people on coastal fishing farms in Ningde, Fuzhou, Pingtan and Putian to be displaced by 10 a.m today.

Typhoon Linfa made landfall yesterday in the southern Guangdong Province, bringing torrential rain to the coastal area.  People in India, especially those of us in South India do well remember  that in Oct 2014, severe cyclonic storm Hudhud hit the port city of Vishakapatnam  bringing with it torrential rains in three coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and leaving five persons dead in the state and neighbouring Odisha besides snapping power and communication lines.  Reports stated that normal life was thrown completely out of gear as winds with a speed of 170 to 180 kmph battered Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. 

For years cyclones that originated in the north Indian ocean were anonymous affairs.  But finally in 2004 they clubbed together and agreed on their favourite names.  In Oct 2012,  cyclonic storm ‘Nilam’ intensified into a severe storm and made the landfall –  affecting badly Cuddaloreand  Pondicherry – places in the coastal line were badly affected causing heavy damage to property.   Earlier it was, Cyclonic Storm Laila (JTWC designation: 01B) was  the first tropical cyclone of the 2010 North Indian Ocean cyclone season and is the first cyclonic storm to affect India in May since the 1990 Andrah Pradesh cyclone.  The intensified cyclone affected areas of Machilipatnam, Kavali and Kakinada.  Before hurtling to Indian east coast, it had lashed Srilanka displacing lakhs of people, triggering floods, delaying flights and submerging many areas. In Tamil nadu, heavy rains battered the coastal areas and the Capital Chennai had incessant rain fall.

Now the present super typhoon - after battering Okinawa Thursday into early Friday Japanese time, Typhoon Chan-hom is headed for landfall in eastern China.  According to wunderground.com,  Chan-hom has the potential to be the strongest typhoon to make landfall within 200 miles of Shanghai in at least 35 years.  There is also the Super Typhoon Nangka in the western Pacific Ocean. It intensified to super typhoon intensity well north of Saipan Thursday night, local time. Nangka's maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 150 mph at this time, making Nangka the equivalent of a high-end Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

So, China is bracing for the arrival of a strong storm this weekend after an earlier one fizzled out over land.Typhoon Chan-hom was churning near Japan's Ryuku Islands early Friday, with maximum sustained winds of around 213 kph (132 mph).Chan-hom's strong winds and torrential rain were also forecast to affect northern Taiwan, where some school and office closures were expected Friday afternoon, according to local media.Approximately 1,020 flights to and from the airport had to be rescheduled because of the weather system, an airport authority spokesman told CNN.

More to follow as the typhoon makes a landfall !

PS :  there was another typhoon by the same name - Typhoon Chan-hom, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Emong,  was the sixth tropical depression and the second tropical stormto develop during the 2009 Pacific typhoon season. On May 6, the storm intensified into a Category 1 typhoon, and on May 7, Chan-hom intensified into a Category 2 typhoon equivalent. However, Chan-hom weakened into a severe tropical storm after passing northernLuzon.  It was to dissipate later- Laos had submitted the name, which means a kind of tree.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

10th July 2015.

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