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Category 2 Typhoon Chan-hom Makes Landfall 80 Miles From Shanghai, China

By: Jeff Masters 4:21 PM GMT on July 11, 2015

Typhoon Chan-hom made landfall in the Chinese island city of Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, about 80 miles south-southeast of Shanghai, at 4:40 p.m local time Saturday, reported the official Chinese news agency. At landfall, Chan-hom was a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph, making it the strongest typhoon to pass within 100 miles of Shanghai in at least the past 35 years. Since Shanghai was on the weak (left) side of the typhoon, the city did not see strong winds. The strongest winds at Shanghai Pudong Airport on Saturday were sustained at 40 mph, gusting to 56 mph. The city of Shipyu, located about 150 miles south of Shanghai, reported sustained winds of 74 mph at 2 am Saturday local time. Over a million people were evacuated in advance of Chan-hom, and I expect that considerable storm surge damage will be reported. Chan-hom has made its closest approach to Shanghai, and late on Saturday morning was headed north-northeast at 10 mph towards Korea. With cool waters of 21 - 22°C in front of it and high wind shear of 20 - 25 knots expected, Chan-hom should rapidly weaken, and make landfall on Monday morning local time in North Korea as a tropical storm with 50 - 60 mph winds.

Figure 1. People gather to see huge waves as Typhoon Chan-hom comes near Wenling, in east China's Zhejiang province on July 10, 2015. Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.

Figure 2. Typhoon Chan-hom as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite at approximately midnight EDT Friday, July 10, 2015 (04 UTC Saturday.) At the time, Chan-hom was a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph. Image credit: NASA Worldview.

The new Japanese Himawari satellite has some spectacular imagery of Chan-hom (Sector 4 in Band 3=visible, and Sector 6 in Band 13=IR.)
Chan-hom satellite imagery from NOAA/NESDIS.
Weather radar from China.
Chan-hom weather radar loop from Brian McNoldy, Univ. of Miami, Rosenstiel School.

Figure 3. Surface winds in the tropical Pacific at 11 am EDT Saturday July 11, 2015, revealed the presence of five tropical cyclones, one ex-tropical storm (Ela near Hawaii), and one tropical depression about to form (97E.) Image credit: earth.nullschool.net.

Hyperactive Pacific; Quiet Atlantic
The exceptionally warm surface waters in the tropical Pacific, in combination with the activity of a strong phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), has led to the formation of a remarkable simultaneous five tropical cyclones (tropical cyclones is a catch-all phrase to describe all tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes/typhoons.) On Saturday morning, the most dangerous of these appeared to be Category 2 Typhoon Nangka, which is expected to move northwards and affect Japan by Friday. The other storms besides Chan-hom (none of which are likely to affect any land areas through Wednesday): Tropical Depression 5-E, which formed 265 miles south of Acapulco, Mexico on Saturday morning, and is expected to move the west-northwest, parallel to the coast; Tropical Storm Halola, located in a remote portion of the Pacific about 555 mi Southwest of Johnston Island; and Tropical Depression Two-C, located about 515 miles south of Honolulu, Hawaii, and headed northwest, away from Hawaii. Another tropical disturbance (Invest 97E), located about 1200 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, was close to tropical depression status, and will likely be a tropical depression on Sunday. 97E will head westwards towards Hawaii, but is not likely to survive the long trek there.

The Atlantic remains quiet, and is dominated by high wind shear and stable dry air. None of our reliable genesis models are showing tropical storm formation in the Atlantic over the next five days, though an area of low pressure expected to form off the coast of North Carolina on Sunday will bear watching for development as it heads northeastwards out to sea early in the week.

There will be a new post by Monday morning at the latest.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.