Super Typhoon Usagi, the most powerful storm on the planet so far in 2013, is still moving along in the Western Pacific, carrying winds as strong as 162 mph - which is equivalent to a category 5 hurricane. Usagi is forecast to move through the Luzon Straight between Taiwan and the Philippines on Saturday.
In the following TRMM (Tropical rainfall Measuring Mission) satellite flyby animation from September 19, rain was falling at a rate of over 5.5 inches (red) per hour in the powerful storms within the eye of the super typhoon.
The storm is heading northwest toward the southern coast of China, and is expected to hit landfall near Hong Kong on Sunday. Usagi measures roughly 620 miles wide, and is generating waves as high as 50 feet. The National Disaster Reduction Commission and the Ministry of Civil Affairs in China have issued a disaster relief alert, in anticipation of Usagi's arrival, which is expected to hit the southern province of Guangdong. The Hong Kong observatory has also issued a warning, stating that "weather will deteriorate significantly with strengthening winds and rough seas"
So far, Usagi's outer spokes have brought rain to the northern Philippines, and the Pagasa weather agency has issued a warning for flash floods and landslides. The super typhoon is expected to come closest to Taiwan on Saturday - Pedram Javaheri, a meteorologist for CNN International, states, "If you're on the east coast of Taiwan, you've certainly got to take this storm very seriously," adding that Usagi could bring over 3 feet of rain to the area over the next few days.
Usagi comes on the heels of Super Typhoon Utor, previously the strongest storm of the year, which hit the Philippines and southern China in August. Roughly 50 people in China and another 11 in the Philippines died in that storm.
Image courtesy of YouTube.