Super Typhoon Meranti is heading for landfall in eastern China after bringing winds over 100 mph and more than 20 inches of rain to Taiwan.
Tuesday afternoon, Meranti peaked at 190-mph sustained winds. This tied Typhoon Tip as the second-strongest tropical cyclone in the northwest Pacific since 1970, and made it the strongest tropical cyclone anywhere on the globe so far in 2016.
Latest Status on Meranti
As of Wednesday morning (EDT), or Wednesday evening China time, Meranti was centered about 46 miles west-southwest of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 180 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).
Current Storm Info
Wind gusts in southern Taiwan topped 100 mph in several locations as the center of Meranti passed by just to the south. This includes 112 mph at Kaohsiung International Airport and 113 mph in Hengchun.
In Taiwan’s Penghu County, a wind gust to 134 mph has been clocked. This is a group of islands located west of Taiwan’s main island.
In the 48 hours ending Wednesday early evening Taiwan time, rainfall totals in excess of 20 inches have been measured in the mountains. Taiwu Township in Pingtung County has seen nearly 30 inches of rain.
Basco in the Philippines Batanes Islands saw winds sustained winds near 90 mph early Wednesday morning, local time, before the weather station stopped reporting.
Meranti Forecast Impacts in China, Taiwan
The center of Meranti will move on a path that will likely take it inland near Xiamen, China, early Thursday morning, local time. This is Wednesday afternoon U.S. time.
Meranti is expected to be the equivalent of a Category 4 near the time of landfall, according to the JTWC.
Projected Path and Intensity
- Timing: Meranti is forecast to move into southeastern China early Thursday, local time.
- Possible Impacts: Damaging winds and storm surge flooding will be threats along the coast, especially in and either side of Xiamen, China. Another major concern is heavy rainfall which will likely result in flooding. Some locations will pick up more than a foot of rain.
- Heavy rain and gusty winds will continue in Taiwan through early Thursday, local time. The rain may contribute to flooding and mudslides.
The typhoon underwent rapid intensification Sunday into Monday, which means maximum sustained winds increased by at least 30 knots (about 35 mph) in 24 hours or less.
Meranti’s winds increased from 85 mph to 180 mph in the 24 hours ending Monday at 11 a.m. EDT, according to the JTWC. That’s a 95 mph increase in winds during that time, or more than double the rapid intensification criteria.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency estimated Tuesday that Meranti’s pressure was 890 millibars. For perspective, only two Atlantic hurricanes have had lower pressures (Wilma and Gilbert).