Usagi – the year’s largest storm is expected to rip through Taiwan and Philippines this Saturday. Reverberating across the Western Pacific Ocean, the storm is then expected to hit the Southern Chinese coast by Sunday. The category 5 hurricane is estimated to have winds of over 200 kilometres per hour, although a slowdown – to ‘severe’ – is predicted by the time it comes in contact with Chinese coast. Taiwan and Philippines authorities have already issued warnings for flash flooding, landslides and storm surge. Emergency and health personnel have been put on alert. The storm ravaging across the sea is expected to generate waves as high as 15 feet.
Hong Kong officials have issued warnings on worsening weather in China’s southern territory. China’s National Meteorological Centre issued a yellow alert on the weather warning system whereas the State Oceanic Administration put forward a class 1 emergency – the highest maritime disaster response level. Northern Philippine has already started facing rains due to the incoming storm. The Batanes Islands in the middle of the Luzon Strait are expected to see the worst of Usagi. Fortunately, the area is only lightly populated therefore the damage can be minimized.
The Taiwan Weather Bureau issued special warnings to residents in Taitung, Kaohsiung and the Pingtung region as officials feared the initial warnings were not taken as seriously as necessary. Usagi is 2013’s largest storm by far. The previous storm in the region hit during August; where Typhoon Utor came in fierce contact with the northern Philippines leaving 8 dead and thousands homeless. Utor continued on into China as well, leaving a trail of destruction. East Asia is prone to violent storms, rushing from Western Pacific, during summers. Life remains disrupted for many during this period due to destruction and immobility.