Typhoon Soudelor (2015)
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This article is about the 2015 typhoon. For other storms of the same name, see Typhoon Soudelor.
|This article documents a current weather event. Information regarding it may change rapidly as more information becomes available. The last updates to this article may not reflect the most current information about this weather event for all areas. Initial news reports may be unreliable.|
|Typhoon (JMA scale)|
|Category 5 (Saffir–Simpson scale)|
|Formed||July 29, 2015|
|Highest winds||10-minute sustained:215 km/h (130 mph)|
1-minute sustained:285 km/h (180 mph)
|Lowest pressure||900 mbar (hPa); 26.58 inHg|
|Fatalities||17 confirmed, 10 missing|
|Damage||≥ $654.4 million (2015 USD)|
|Areas affected||Mariana Islands, Philippines,Japan, Taiwan, China|
|Part of the 2015 Pacific typhoon season|
Typhoon Soudelor, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Hanna, is currently a weak tropical cyclone impacting East China, which was recently the most intense tropical cyclone of the Northern Hemisphere in 2015 and struck the Northern Mariana Islands. The thirteenth named storm of the annual typhoon season, Soudelor formed as a tropical depression near of Pohnpei on July 29. The system strengthened slowly at first before entering a period of rapid intensification on August 2. Soudelor made landfall on Saipanlater that day, causing extensive damage. Owing to favorable environmental conditions, the typhoon further deepened reached its peak intensity with winds of 215 km/h (130 mph) and an atmospheric pressure of 900 hPa (mbar; 26.58 inHg) on August 3. TheJoint Typhoon Warning Center assessed one-minute sustained winds at 285 km/h (180 mph), making Soudelor a Category 5-equivalent super typhoon. Steady weakening ensued thereafter as the storm moved generally west-northwest. Soudelor made landfall over Hualien, Taiwan late on August 7 and emerged over in the Taiwan Strait early the next day.
During July 29, the JMA reported that a tropical depression had developed, about 1,800 km (1,120 mi) to the east of Hagåtña, Guam. Over the next day the system moved westwards under the influence of the subtropical ridge of high pressure and quickly consolidated, in an environment that was marginally favorable for further development. As a result the JTWC initiated advisories and designated it as Tropical Depression 13W during July 30. In the same day, Soudelor showed signs of rapid intensification as a central dense overcastobscured its LLCC due to favorable environments such as low vertical windshear, sea-surface temperatures of 31 – 32°C and high ocean heat content.  Rapid intensification ensued on August 2 as the storm approached the Northern Mariana Islands. Soudelor developed an incredibly small eyeonly 8 km (5 mi) in diameter, among the smallest ever observed in a tropical cyclone. At 14:54 UTC, Soudelor made landfall along the southern coast of Saipan. After undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle,
Soudelor continued rapid intensification and on August 3, the JTWC upgraded Soudelor to a Category 5 super typhoon. Intensity leveled off thereafter, and after maintaining Category 5 intensity for 24 hours, Soudelor was downgraded to a Category 4 super typhoon late on August 4. On August 5, PAGASA reported that the Typhoon Soudelor entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility assigning the nameHanna. Soudelor weakened further to a Category 2-equivalent typhoon and stayed at that intensity for a day. On August 7, the typhoon reintensified to reach a secondary peak as a Category 3-equivalent typhoon, and later that day, Typhoon Soudelor made landfall overXiulin, Hualien in Taiwan at 20:40 UTC on August 7 (04:40 TST on August 8), and it arrived in the Taiwan Strait from Taixi, Yunlin around 03:00 UTC (11:00 TST) on August 8. Around 14:10 UTC (22:10 CST) on the same day, Soudelor made landfall over Putian, Fujian inChina as a Category 1-equivalent typhoon.
Northern Mariana Islands
Typhoon Soudelor passed directly over Saipan on August 2 as a Category 2 equivalent storm, causing widespread damage on the island. The National Weather Service's anemometer at Saipan International Airport broke after recording a gust of 146 km/h (91 mph). The winds downed numerous trees and power lines, leaving much of the island without power and rendering roads impassible. In some areas, cars were flipped over by the force of the wind. The island's power plant lost part of its roof and was flooded. Damage to the island's electrical infrastructure was tremendous, with 150 power poles and 114 transformers damaged or destroyed. A total of 464 residents sought refuge in public shelters. Ten people were injured in various incidents. Acting Governor Ralph DLG Torres declared "a state of disaster and significant emergency". Dr. Philip Dauterman of the Commonwealth Health Center in Saipan likened damage to that caused by Typhoon Pongsona which struck Guam in December 2002. In addition, John Hirsh from the American Red Cross said that Soudelor is the most damaging cyclone to hit Saipan since Typhoon Kim in 1986 struck the island nearly thirty years prior. Early estimates say that Soudelor has caused over $20 million (2015 USD) in damages on Saipan.
The local power company, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., stated they only had 77 replacement power poles and no transformers. Repairs to the electric grid, water supply network, and wastewater systems were expected to take three to four weeks. Three Mobil gas stations re-opened on August 4 for first responders and emergency services. Relief supplies from Guam and Hawaii were sent to Saipan that day. Members of the Guam National Guard, Guam Power Authority, and the Coast Guard also provided assistance.
On August 6, four people in Su'ao, Yilan were swept away while watching waves. One person, a child, survived; two others are confirmed dead, and the fourth is still missing. As of August 8, five people were killed and five are missing. A total of 185 people were hurt in Taiwan and more than 3 million households lost electricity as the powerful storm left streets strewn with fallen trees. All 279 domestic flights were canceled Saturday, as well as at least 37 international flights. Total damages in Taiwan are estimated to be around 559.68 millionNT (17.67 million USD).
The center of the storm made landfall in eastern Taiwan at 4:40 a.m. Saturday. By mid-morning, Soudelor was packing maximum sustained winds of 162 kilometers (100 miles) per hour, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau. Between midnight Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday, Taiping Mountain in eastern Taiwan's Yilan County topped all regions with an accumulated rainfall of 1,099 millimetres (43.3 in).
Strong winds from the typhoon caused Taipei 101's tuned mass damper to sway by 100 cm, the largest ever recorded movement.
Four cities in China, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Quanzhou, and Nanjing, were affected. The Olympic Park in Beijing sustained minor damages, including the Beijing National Stadium, Beijing National Aquatics Center, and the Olympic Village. In Shanghai, the Pudong skyline was unaffected, and all construction at Shanghai Disneyland was suspended until the typhoon passed. All flights to and from theShanghai Pudong International Airport were canceled. Around 100 trains running through Xiamen city suspended services. Flights to and from the Quanzhou Jinjiang International Airport were canceled, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Typhoon Soudelor killed 12 people in eastern China and five are missing after parts of the country were hit by the heaviest rains in a century. The casualties were reported in and around Wenzhou city in the province of Zhejiang, where downpours caused mudslides and several houses collapsed on Saturday night. About 1.36 million people in the city were affected by the typhoon, estimating direct economic losses at 3.83 billion yuan ($617 million USD). Nearby Wencheng county saw downpours of 645 millimetres (25.4 inches) in 24 hours – the heaviest in 100 years.