Category 2 Usagi Hits China; Hong Kong Misses the Storm's Worst
Typhoon Usagi made landfall near Shanwei, China, about 90 miles east-northeast of Hong Kong, near 6 pm local time (6 am EDT) on Sunday. At landfall, Usagi--the Japanese word for rabbit--was a powerful Category 2 typhoon with top sustained winds of 110 mph. Shanwei recorded a sea level pressure of about 941 mb at landfall. As of noon EDT, the top winds recorded at the Hong Hong Airport were sustained at 40 mph, with gusts to 53 mph. Hong Kong's Cheung Chau Island recorded sustained winds of 54 mph, gusting to 76 mph. Since the typhoon made landfall well to the east of the city, Hong Kong was on the weaker (left) side of the storm, and missed Usagi's strongest winds and most significant storm surge. Hong Kong had a 0.7 meter (2.3') storm surge at the Kwai Chung measurement site. Shantou, located on the strong (right) side of the storm, experienced sustained winds of 49 mph, gusting to 67 mph. Two people were killed by a falling tree in China near Usagi's landfall location, and the typhoon is also being blamed for two deaths in the Philippines and nine injuries in Taiwan. Satellite images show that Usagi is weakening quickly as it moves inland, and the storm should dissipate over China by Tuesday morning.
Figure 1. Radar image of Usagi as it approached landfall showed that the typhoon had multiple concentric eyewalls. Image credit: weather.com.cn.
Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Typhoon Usagi, taken at approximately 02:30 UTC on September 22, 2013. At the time, Usagi was a Category 3 typhoon with 115 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.
Wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a new post, Hong Kong's typhoon history.
Landfall radar loops from three radars, put together by Brian McNoldy
Southeast China radar
#usagi at Twitter
Webcams in Hong Kong
The University of Wisconsin CIMSS Satellite Blog has a nice animation showing the trochoidal (wobbling) forward motion characteristic of intense tropical cyclones.
Vulnerability assessment of storm surges in the coastal area of Guangdong Province, a 2011 journal article by Li and Li.
Video 1. Typhoon chaser James Reynolds caught video of some impressive surf from Typhoon Usagi impacting Hong Kong on September 22, 2013. His Twitter feed is here.
Quiet in the Atlantic
In the Gulf of Mexico, the tail end of a cold front off the coast of Texas has developed an area of concentrated heavy thunderstorms. This disturbance has some modest spin to it, thanks to absorbing Invest 95L on Saturday. However, wind shear is high, 20 - 30 knots, and I don't expect this disturbance will develop. The disturbance is expected to bring 2 - 3" of rain to Florida later this week, and the Army Corps of Engineers has re-opened the flood gates on Lake Okeechobee to dump water out of the lake, in anticipation of the heavy rains. None the reliable models for tropical cyclone formation is predicting development during the coming five days.
Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
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