Eye of Super Typhoon "Meranti" approaching southern Taiwan

Eye of Super Typhoon

​Super Typhoon "Meranti" is now approaching Taiwan with maximum sustained winds of 296 km/h (184 mph) and gusts to 352 km/h (218 mph). Meranti is a very dangerous storm and a heavy rain maker expected to pass with its eye just south of the southern tip of Taiwan after 00:00 UTC on September 14, 2016. Batanes and Babuyan groups of islands will take the brunt of the storm as the center passes right over some of them. Meranti is the strongest typhoon in the NW Pacific Ocean since Haiyan in 2013.

At 09:00 UTC on September 13, the center of Super Typhoon "Meranti" was located approximately 561 km (348 miles) SSE of Taipei City, Taiwan and 250 km (154 miles) NNE of Santa Ana, Luzon, Philippines. Meranti had maximum sustained winds of 296 km/h (184 mph) and gusts to 352 km/h (218 mph). It was tracking WNW at 25 km/h (16 mph), according to the JTWC. At the same time, this system had minimum estimated central pressure of 900 hPa, according to the JMA.

Super Typhoon "Meranti" on September 13, 2016. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, CIRA

Animated multispectral satellite imagery shows the system has maintained a symmetric ultra-deep convective signature and a sharply-outlined eye that has expanded to 15 nautical miles in diameter (28 km / 17 miles).

Upper-level analysis indicates the system is just south of the ridge axis in an area of light easterly vertical wind shear and excellent radial outflow sustained by a point source anti-cyclone aloft. Sea surface temperatures at 30 °C (86 °F) and high ocean heat content are also very favorable.

Meranti is expected to continue tracking generally WNW throughout its lifespan under the influence of subtropical ridge. 

Increasing vertical wind shear and land interaction, as it brushes the southern coast of Taiwan, will gradually weaken the system.

Shortly after 21:00 UTC on September 14, Meranti will make landfall in China near Shantou, JTWC said. The rugged terrain and increased vertical wind shear will rapidly erode the system, dissipating as a significant cyclone over land before 09:00 UTC on September 16.

Super Typhoon "Meranti" forecast track by JTWC at 09:00 UTC on September 13, 2016

Super Typhoon "Meranti" forecast track by JMA at 09:00 UTC on September 13, 2016

Super Typhoon "Meranti" will slightly weaken before its eye reaches the southern tip of Taiwan but will remain a very dangerous storm and pound Taiwan with flooding rain, damaging winds and dangerous storm surge before aiming for southeastern China.

Significant rainfall of 250 to 500 mm (10 to 20 inches) will be possible with locally higher amounts of up to 750 mm (30 inches) in the mountains. This will lead to significant flash flooding and mudslides.

3 hourly rainfall ending 06:00 UTC on September 13, 2016. Credit: NASA/TRMM

In the Philippines, this system is known as Ferdie and the PAGASA has warned residents in Northern Luzon to take precautionary measures against impacts of very strong winds and heavy rainfall. 

Estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within the 600 km diameter (372 miles) of the typhoon.

Batanes and Babuyan groups of islands will take the brunt of the storm as the center passes right over some of them. Ocean wave height at open sea is expected up to 14 m (46 feet). Storm surge up to 2 m (6.5 feet) is possible at coastal areas.

The Batanes Group of Islands is under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) 4:

  • Very heavy damage to high–risk structures
  • Heavy damage to medium risk structures;
  • Moderate damage to low-risk structures
  • Considerable damage to structures of light materials (up to 75% are totally and partially destroyed); complete roof structure failures.
  • Many houses of medium-built materials are unroofed, some with collapsed walls; extensive damage to doors and windows
  • A few houses of first-class materials are partially damaged
  • All signs/billboards are blown down. There is almost total damage to banana plantation
  • Most mango trees, ipil-ipil and similar types of large trees are downed or broken.
  • Coconut plantation may suffer extensive damage.
  • Rice and corn plantation may suffer severe losses.

The Babuyan Group of Islands is under TCWS 3:

  • Heavy damage to high risk structures;
  • Moderate damage to medium-risk structures; 
  • Light damage to low risk structures
  • Increasing damage (up to more than 50%) to old dilapidated residential structures and houses of light materials.  Majority of all nipa and cogon houses may be unroofed or destroyed
  • Houses of medium-strength materials (old, timber or mixed timber-CHB structures, usually with G.I. roofings); some warehouses or bodega-type structures are unroofed.
  • There may be widespread disruption of electrical power and communication services.
  • Almost all banana plants are downed.
  • Some big trees (acacia, mango, etc.) are broken or uprooted
  • Dwarf-type or hybrid coconut trees are tilted or downed
  • Rice and corn crops may suffer heavy losses
  • Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off; some large trees blown down. 

Video courtesy Robert Speta/WestPacWx

24 hours of rainfall accumulation ending 06:00 UTC on September 13, 2016. Credit: NASA/TRMM

Featured image: Super Typhoon "Meranti" at 11:40 UTC on September 13, 2016. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, CIRA

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