Five of the biggest typhoons to hit Asia-as Tropical Cyclone Kompasu buffets HK and southern China

14-Oct-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:53 AM Print This Post

Days after Hong Kong was rocked by Typhoon Lionrock, the city’s longest lasting signal 8 typhoon since severe tropical storm Agnes in July 1978, the city was buffeted by Typhoon Kompasu.

The No 8 typhoon signal was up for even longer than for Lionrock, and had still not been lowered by late afternoon as Kompasu headed for Hainan in southern China. The storm brought heavy rains and gusty winds; although less severe than those triggered by Lionrock, at least 16 people were injured and one killed by Kompasu, the Hospital Authority said. Lionrock triggered widespread flooding and caused one death.

East Asia has experienced many deadly storms, some of which had unexpected consequences. For example, in 1962 typhoon Wanda, which hit Hong Kong directly, was accompanied by a storm surge that left communities in low-lying coastal areas in ruins. Some 130 people were confirmed dead, with a further 53 missing.

As the city braces for Tropical Cyclone Kompasu, we look back at some of the most destructive and deadliest storms to have struck the region in recorded history.

Typhoon Mangkhut, 2018

Mangkhut was officially Hong Kong’s most intense storm since records began, a storm that left 394 people in the city injured, uprooted some 1,500 trees and left hundreds of windows smashed. The storm caused 127 deaths in the Philippines, six in mainland China and one in Taiwan.

The Hong Kong Observatory raised the No 10 typhoon signal, the highest, for 10 hours, making it the most powerful storm to hit the city since records began in 1946.

The typhoon reached record-breaking wind speeds as it made landfall in the northern Luzon region of the Philippines, but by the time it reached Hong Kong, its wind speed had dropped to 175km/h.

Between 1,400 and 1,500 people sought refuge at government shelters, five times as many as in any previous storm. Police received 20,000 calls for help, more than three times the normal weekend average.

Typhoon Vera, 1959

Typhoon Vera remains the strongest and deadliest typhoon to have made landfall in Japan, and caused more than 4,000 deaths. Vera struck at a bad time for Japan’s economy, severely affecting multiple industries that were still recovering from a dramatic fall in output in the wake of the second world war.

Typhoon Nina, 1975

Although not the storm with the heaviest rainfall or the strongest winds, Typhoon Nina is one of the most destructive storms ever to have struck China.

It took the lives of over 230,000, with most the casualties recorded in Henan province, where the Banqiao dam failed, flooding agricultural areas and leading to mass starvation and the spread of disease among displaced villagers.

Typhoon Tip, 1979

Despite not claiming many lives relative to its size and strength, Typhoon Tip broke many meteorological records. It was the biggest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded. Its diameter was equivalent to half the land mass of the United States of America, and it caused atmospheric pressure at sea level to fall to the lowest on record.

Typhoon Haiyan, 2013

Measured by wind speed, this storm was the strongest ever to make landfall, with gusts reaching up to 315km/h when it made landfall in the eastern Philippines in early November 2013. More than 11 million people were estimated to have been affected in the Philippines and the surrounding region, and more than 6,000 were killed.

More than 1.9 million people found themselves homeless.

The devastation caused by Haiyan prompted an outpouring of aid from the international community, led by the US, which sent an aircraft carrier strike group.

Typhoon Wanda, 1962

Wanda scored a direct hit on Hong Kong and wrecked, sank or damaged more than 2,000 vessels.

Wanda was only a category 2 storm, but despite its relatively slower speeds and weaker winds it was accompanied by a storm surge that left communities in low-lying coastal areas in ruins. Some 130 people were confirmed dead, with a further 53 missing.


Category: Hong Kong

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