Typhoon Usagi, which is predicted to be the most powerful typhoon of 2013, is set to drench Southern China with a month's rainfall in just a few days. The typhoon has made it's way in from the Philippines, and Taiwan where it caused severe destruction.
Thankfully my only experience of a close enough encounter of such a fierce storm was the hurricane that hit the United Kingdom in 1987. I clearly remember it as if it was yesterday. So when I read the news reports that a bigger and much stronger storm was heading right towards Shenzhen, I was all ready and prepared for the worst.
Typhoon Usagi was over 1000km (620 miles) in diameter. Winds of up to 180 km/h (110 mph) were recorded in some areas, toppling trees and blowing cars off roads. Its victims drowned or were hit by debris.
With such unstable air, sees seemingly innocent Strato Cumumlous clouds suddenly trigger into thunderstorms - rising faster than your average elevator. They take around 20 minutes to build - are active for about 20 minutes and then dissipate into high level cirrus clouds and low level stratus clouds. Scary stuff, and no pilot should fly into them.
Typhoons are common during the summer in parts of South, South-East, and East Asia, where the warm moist air and low pressure conditions enable tropical cyclones to form. It was clear that the average person on the street was hit hard. Shenzheners started panicking and all the supermarket shelves were almost EMPTY on the eve of the storm.
I took the below two photos on the eve of the typhoon approaching Shenzhen. The only indication that a storm was approaching our city was the strong breeze which interrupted the otherwise tropically warm and humid weather that Shenzhen experiences at this time of the year.
Hundreds of flights from Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong have been cancelled. The normally active Nanshan Heliport, which has daily shuttle helicopter flights that take oil and gas workers to the oil platforms in the South China Sea, was quiet.
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