Typhoon Mufia will hit Shanghai with hurricane force


Typhoon Muifa is set to hit Shanghai, China’s most populous metropolitan area, late Wednesday night into Thursday morning local time, triggering torrential rains and the potential for damaging winds and a disruptive ocean surge. .

The storm is expected to make landfall with sustained winds of 80 mph, the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane.

China’s Meteorological Administration raised orange warnings ahead of the typhoon’s expected landfall, writing: “[a] heavy rain or thunderstorms will hit coastal areas.

The agency also warned that “coastal regions … will be exposed to [a] scale 6-8 gale”, which corresponds to sustained winds of up to 46 mph. This is a general warning for a long stretch of coastline, however, and more severe warnings will likely be issued as it becomes clear where exactly the center of the storm crosses the coast. Gusts throughout the region are expected to reach 60 mph.

AlJazeera reported that officials in Shanghai, where nearly 40 million people live, planned to cease port operations on Wednesday, with some projects ending early Tuesday evening. More than 7,000 ships sought refuge in ports. Schools have also been asked to close.

Meteorological officials are in “emergency” mode, which requires forecasters to “develop accurate and precise forecasts and refined services for the government, the related sector and the public”.

The storm is reported to have already dropped 13.9 inches of rain on Hateruma Island in Japan.

As of Tuesday evening local time, the center of Typhoon Muifa was located near 26.8 degrees north latitude, 123.9 degrees east longitude. That puts it about 150 miles northeast of Taipei in the East China Sea, or halfway between Okinawa and China’s coastal Zhejiang province.

According to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center, maximum sustained winds in the storm’s core were just under 105 mph, making Muifa the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane.

On satellite it appeared that the northern outer rain bands of the Muifa circulation were thinning, but this is likely due to restructuring as it organizes. Satellite water vapor imagery shows evidence of robust moisture to the north of the storm, meaning it is not dry air entrainment eroding the storm’s periphery.

Storm activity can be seen aggressively as individual towers of updraft orbit around the center of the storm. This is usually a sign of strengthening, and Muifa should intensify slightly before weakening on China’s final approach.

Expected strike on Shanghai

As currently scheduled, Muifa is expected to move into Hangzhou Bay, south of Shanghai, on Wednesday mid-evening local time. From there, the storm will continue north-northwest towards the core of Shanghai’s urban corridor.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts maximum sustained winds of around 80 mph, mostly east of the center, with winds in the range of 55 to 65 mph to the west. Winds can be accelerated between tall buildings in the city.

The specific track will be critical when it comes to storm surges: the rise of ocean waters above normally dry land. Tropical cyclones and all low-pressure systems in the Northern Hemisphere spin counterclockwise, bringing southerly winds to the east side of the system but northerly winds to the west of the storm. Given the shape of Hangzhou Bay, overland flow could push significant amounts of water to the coastal stretches of Pudong and Fengxian District. That could mean a storm surge in the range of 4-6 feet in a reasonable worst case. Levees are common in these parts of town, but splashing and some flooding are still likely.

A potentially greater concern will come from the Yangtze River and the Changjiang River Estuary, which runs northwest to southeast. Assuming the winds start from the southeast, this will push the water inland, eventually spilling into areas like the Bixi residential area or the Nantong coast.

Any flooding could be aggravated by forecasted rainfall, as a pent-up Yangtze would mean a reduced ability for freshwater floods to flow into the ocean. As it stands, the China Meteorological Administration predicts up to 10 to 16 inches of precipitation in the region, and rainfall rates could exceed 2 to 3 inches per hour. This could pose a problem for the city’s subway system.

Shanghai is no stranger to tropical systems. Last year, Typhoon In-fa hit just south of the city, leaving behind tthe equivalent of 2 billion dollars of damage in China.

In July 1915, the strongest typhoon to hit the city delivered sustained winds of 85.7 mph. This typhoon is unlikely to be that intense. In 1949, Gloria passed just south of Hangzhou Bay as a Category 2 equivalent typhoon.

Another one developing tropical system could threaten parts of the Japanese archipelago and the East China Sea next week.

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