Earth’s stongest storm of 2013, packing 160 mph winds, moving toward Hong Kong
Super Typhoon Usagi, the equivalent of a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, has intensified rapidly in the western Pacific Ocean and will threaten parts of Taiwan, the far northern Philippines and southern China through the next several days.
A tropical cyclone is dubbed a “super typhoon” when maximum sustained winds reach at least 150 mph. Usagi underwent a period of rapid intensification from early Wednesday through midday Thursday (U.S. Eastern time), going from a 55-knot tropical storm to a 140-knot super typhoon in just 33 hours, or just under a 100 mph intensification, based on satellite estimates of intensity.
Usagi is expected to maintain a west-northwest path through Saturday. Here are the potential forecast impacts by location for Usagi:
- Closest approach of center of Usagi: Saturday afternoon, local time.
- The most likely path for the center of Usagi is to pass near the southern tip of Taiwan at that time. This would put Taiwan in the most dangerous eastern semicircle of Usagi.
- Potential impacts: Surge flooding/battering waves (eastern coast especially), damaging winds (particularly southern Taiwan), flooding rain/mudslides.
- Local forecast: Taipei