The Washington Post

Worst of typhoon Usagi slips by Hong Kong, 25 dead in China

Via NASA: “On Sept. 22 at 0923 UTC/5:23 a.m. EDT, just south of Usagi’s eye where rain was falling at a rate of over 169mm/~6.7 inches per hour along China’s coast. TRMM radar sliced through Usagi and found that heights of some thunderstorms were reaching only about 12 km /7.4 miles.” (NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce)

Typhoon Usagi had become the strongest storm on the planet in 2013 and was on a beeline towards Hong Kong. But fortunately, the feared storm veered slightly northward, sparing the city of 7.1 million people its worst.

Instead of violent hurricane-force winds and a devastating storm surge, Hong Kong witnessed low-end tropical storm conditions, with maximum sustained winds around 40 mph and gusts to 50 mph. About 4 inches of rain fell.

Despite its relatively modest punch, Usagi – which means “rabbit” – still led to 370 flight cancellations, 69 fallen trees, and 7 injuries.

The worst conditions occurred about 90 miles to the north in the Guangdong province of China. There, the storm made landfall near Shanwei Sunday evening local time (about 6 a.m. ET), with maximum sustained winds near 110 mph – the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane.

“State-run media reported that at least 25 people were killed in the province as the result of the storm,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The deaths mostly concentrated mostly in and around Shanwei city, where two people were killed by a falling tree branch and a villager was killed by falling window glass.”

CNN reports 7,100 damaged or destroyed houses in the region.

Prior to its impact in China, Usagi produced torrential rains in both the Philippines and Taiwan. Up to 700 mm (27 inches) of rain fell in the highlands of Taiwan according to the UK Met Office, and AccuWeather says 150 mm (6 inches) of rain fell in Manila. The rain in the Philippines resulted from a combination of Usagi’s moisture and the summer monsoon.

The Guardian says the storm caused 20 fatalities in the Philippines and 2 in Taiwan bringing the storm’s death toll, overall, to 47.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Jason Samenow · September 23, 2013

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