Super Typhoon Usagi on path of destruction

Sep 20, 2013
A NASA Terra satellite image obtained September 19, 2013, shows Typhoon Usagi nearing the Philippines and Taiwan.

Super Typhoon Usagi—one of the strongest storms of the year—barrelled towards Hong Kong and southern China on Friday, prompting warnings of fierce winds and torrential rains.

Packing gusts of up to 205 kilometres (127 miles) per hour, the storm is projected to roar between the Philippines and Taiwan before smashing into the southern Chinese coast later in the weekend.

At 0300 GMT Friday it was centred 1,160 kilometres southeast of Hong Kong, officials in the Chinese territory said.

"It is the strongest typhoon in the west Pacific region this year," a at the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau told AFP.

Philippines authorities issued a signal four alert for the Batanes island group in the extreme north of the country, warning large trees could be uprooted, plantations flattened and power and knocked out.

"Damage to affected communities can be very heavy," the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said. "The situation is potentially very destructive to communities. All travel and outdoor activities should be cancelled."

The country's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Usagi would cause intense rainfall of 10-20 millimetres per hour within a 700-kilometre range.

Graphic showing the forecast track of Typhoon Usagi heading towards southern Taiwan and Hong Kong on Friday.

Hong Kong officials warned of worsening weather in the southern Chinese territory.

"Weather will deteriorate significantly with strengthening winds and rough seas," the Hong Kong observatory said. Its tropical cyclone track map showed the storm would hit the city after 8:00 pm (1200 GMT) on Sunday.

The typhoon is expected to be downgraded to "severe" by the time it makes landfall in the territory, according to the observatory.

Typhoon Usagi is set to brush the southern tip of Taiwan on Saturday morning, expected to bring fierce winds and torrential rains, possibly leading to landslides.

The Taiwan weather bureau issued a warning to the residents of Taitung, Kaohsiung and the Pingtung areas to take special precautions, as television news footage showed people surfing on waves whipped up by Usagi.

Officials in southeastern Taitung county ordered the suspension of ferries.

And authorities in the southern city of Kaohsiung deflated an 18-metre-tall (60 feet) yellow duck, a slightly larger version of the one that recently captivated people in Hong Kong, a day after it arrived in the city, drawing tens of thousands of visitors.

Mainland Chinese weather authorities have issued a "yellow" alert, state media reported, the third-highest on its four-tier warning system, according to the official official Xinhua news agency.

China's State Oceanic Administration expects Usagi to hit the coast between south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and southeastern Fujian Province on Sunday evening.

Typoon Utor, which struck last month, killed eight people in the Philippines and left tens of thousands displaced and whole towns badly damaged when it raked across the north of the main island of Luzon.

Utor, which also led to deaths in China, forced the closure of financial markets, schools and businesses in Hong Kong, disrupting hundreds of flights and also caused the sinking of a 190-metre-long cargo ship to the city, but all 21 crew were rescued.

A super is the most intense tropical cyclone, with a maximum sustained wind speed reaching 185 km/h or above.

Explore further: Taiwan evacuates 2,000 tourists as typhoon looms (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Taiwan evacuates 2,000 tourists as typhoon looms (Update)

Jul 11, 2013

Taiwan evacuated more than 2,000 tourists on Thursday as the island braced for super-typhoon Soulik, while Japan's Okinawa warned residents that giant waves of up to 12 metres (40 feet) could pound the archipelago.

NASA sees Usagi become a typhoon

Sep 19, 2013

What was a tropical storm rapidly intensified into Typhoon Usagi within 24 hours as it moves through the Northwestern Pacific Ocean. NASA satellite data revealed a 20-mile-wide eye and bands of thunderstorms ...

Recommended for you

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

23 hours ago

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...