Super Typhoon Nepartak

This is a huge hurricane/typhoon heading quickly, and imminently, towards taiwan.

The storm itself is roughly as wide as the island nation is long, so very little will be left unaffected.

The storm is at the very high end of the range of storms in size, strength, etc. It is currently equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. It may weaken a bit before landfall over the next few hours, but it may remain a Category 5.

Winds, huge waves and coastal flooding from storm surges will be a big problem with this storm, but the largest problem may be the incredibly high rainfall, with about one meter of rain (3 feet) predicted in some locations. This could cause unprecedented and major flooding.

Nepartak should be regarded as a global warming enhanced storm. The storm is made so large and strong because of extraordinarily high sea surface temperatures, which in turn is an effect of human caused global warming.

Locally, the Green Island and the Taiwanese city of Taitung City are on or very close to the expected storm track. If the storm tracks a bit south, expect very severe storm surges in Taitun city. Either way, there will be major rainfall in the river basins, and the valley ousee north of Taitung City, which has several settlements in it, seems likely to be at major risk.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 10.31.03 AM

Here is the most current (10:34 AM CT) map from Weather Underground showing the relationship between the storm and Taiwan.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 10.33.58 AM

Climate Signals has info on the storm, and does a good job at evaluating the likely relationship between the storm and human caused climate change.

On July 4 and 5, in just 24 hours, cyclone Nepartak intensified from a 70 mph storm to a Category 4 super typhoon with 150 mph winds, peaking with 1-minute sustained winds of 173 mph (150 knots) on July 6. Currently a Category 5 storm, Nepartak is forecast to strike Taiwan Thursday night, July 7, local time (midday Eastern time) before moving on to eastern China. The rapid intensification of Nepartak was driven by favorable climate conditions, including passage over unusually warm seas with some of the highest oceanic heat content readings observed in conjunction with a tropical cyclone. There is a documented increase in the intensity of the strongest storms in several ocean basins in recent decades, including the Pacific Northwest. And warming seas are offering more energy to passing storms. Extreme rainfall over Taiwan is expected to be intense, fueled in part by a warmer atmosphere, with total rainfall in some areas reaching well above 3 feet. The reach of Nepartak's storm surge will be extended due to elevated sea levels driven up by global warming.

Jeff Masters is covering the storm here. He discusses the very rapid development of this storm:

Category 5 Super Typhoon Nepartak is steaming towards a Thursday landfall in Taiwan after putting on a phenomenal display of rapid intensification on Monday and Tuesday. Nepartak went from a tropical storm with 70 mph winds on Monday afternoon to a Category 4 super typhoon with 150 mph winds on Tuesday afternoon, in just 24 hours.

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And after it's done with Taiwan, the lower Yangzi Valley region of China is next. This region, particularly Wuhan (which I think is a bit to the left of the current forecast track), is suffering severe flooding due to unusually heavy monsoon rains already. More rain is the last thing they need, but that's what they are going to get.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 07 Jul 2016 #permalink

So both of the references make prominent mention of the rapidity with which this storm increased in size and power. Is that
a) A characteristic in general of storms of this size
b) Specific to this one due to the unusually warm surface waters
c) Most 'a' magnified by 'b'
d) Something else

@- dean
A characteristic in general of storms of this intensity/energy is that they only get to be of that size due to unusually warm surface waters. So the answer to your question is -
e) the much greater probability of a tropical storm encountering 'unusually' warm surface water due to AGW.

Latest shows it steering southward. For a neat take, here (requires lotsa bandwidth):…

Click on "Earth" to change variables: I put it at 850 hpa ("height) but ti's equally dramatic at surface level. There's Blas in the eastern Pacific and some kind of interesting blob south of Iceland if you zoom out.

Also Wunderground, where Jeff Masters has provided links to local updates near the bottom (above last photo) of his article:

By Susan Anderson (not verified) on 07 Jul 2016 #permalink

sorry, just south of predicted track, not turning south. My amateur understanding is the edge of Taiwan is steep and impacting the track.

By Susan Anderson (not verified) on 07 Jul 2016 #permalink

The history of climate change demonstrates abundantly: with each new disaster, natural forces gradually yielding their secrets and their laws are brought to light. This type of weather system fits exactly in an increasing pattern of super serious climate events, due to global warming, leading to a new ice age etc.. Netherlands, Laren NH, Friday 8 July 2016,8.30 AM.

By Gerrit Bogaers (not verified) on 07 Jul 2016 #permalink

I live here in Taitung on the south-east coast. In 28 years in Taiwan, this is the first time I actually felt scared in a typhoon. Lots of damage but luckily only 3 casualties- an elderly woman killed by toppling furniture, and two idiots who decided it was a good time to go to the beach. Lots of damage, but the worst part is the trees. We have a lot anyway, and the local government has had a big push to turn us into a green (looking) city. Now huge numbers are toppled or totally stripped.