Asia Minute: Super Typhoon Threatens Philippines, Hong Kong

Sep 12, 2018

Super Typhoon Mangkhut | September 12, 2018
Credit Lauren Dauphin / https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/92741/typhoon-mangkhut

Hurricane Florence continues to threaten parts of the east coast of the mainland. Closer to home, Tropical Storm Olivia is cutting across the islands. But another dangerous storm is moving through another part of the Pacific.

A super typhoon is churning its way across the Pacific — heading for the Philippines, and likely moving on to Hong Kong and southern China.

A typhoon is the same kind of storm as a hurricane – the only difference is where it originates. A storm that starts in the Atlantic or Central or Eastern North Pacific is a hurricane. If the same disturbance begins in the Northwest Pacific, it’s a typhoon. And if sustained wind speeds reach 150 miles an hour — that makes it a “super typhoon.”

Those storms are highly destructive — equal to the top end of a category four hurricane or higher.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut has already swept through the Marianas islands, just north of Guam.

The storm’s track shows it hitting the northern Philippines likely on Thursday – with bands of rainfall stretching down to Manila.

The high winds and heavy rains are expected to hit Luzon — the largest and most populous of the Philippine Islands. The timing is especially difficult, the storm could threaten crops of rice and corn on farmland in the northern part of the island — just before the annual harvest.

A typhoon heads towards Hong Kong
Credit tobbo / Pixabay

Next up for the super typhoon would be Taiwan, before it barrels toward Hong Kong — possibly reaching the city on Sunday and southern China after that.

This is the most powerful storm of the season in the Northwest Pacific — where most typhoons take place between May and October.