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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tropical Storm Linfa downgraded from typhoon

As we expected, Linfa is now weakening as it crosses through the China Strait. The weakening is due partially from interaction with land but also due to high wind shear from the northwest.

The public advisory from Weather Underground:

210900z position near 24.3n 119.0e.Tropical Storm (TS) 03w (Linfa) located approximately 520 nm west-southwest of Okinawa, has tracked northward at 06 knots over thepast six hours. The system has begun weakening as it encountersincreasing vertical wind shear and its northern quadrants interact with Mainland China. Forecast track philosophy remains consistentwith previous forecasts, tracking the system through the TaiwanStrait and recurving south of Mainland Japan. Maximum significantwave height at 210600z is 22 feet. Next warnings at 211500z,212100z, 220300z and 220900z.//

Storm track predictions show Linfa as continuing to head north actually making landfall sometime tonight local time (China time is 12 or 13 hours later than EDT). (From Taiwan CWB). Landfall will skirt along the southeast China coast. Maximum sustained windspeed at the moment is 50 knots with gusts up to 70 kts.

Of course the major concern with this storm is the potential for flooding due to heavy rain.



TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Tropical storm Linfa disrupted domestic air traffic and stranded an oil tanker on the rocks Sunday as it was moving north close along the coast of China.

Air and sea traffic between Taiwan’s main island, Penghu in the middle of the Taiwan Straits, and Kinmen close to China’s Fujian Province were almost completely canceled Sunday, affecting 167 flights and leaving travelers stranded at airports. Direct shipping links between the islands and China were also suspended for two days.

--snip--

Linfa was showing signs of veering towards a route slightly inland over China’s Fujian Province, which could weaken its strength, cut its radius and slow its speed, the bureau said. Land alerts might be ended later Sunday evening, reports said.

The islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu had to prepare for heavy rain and strong winds, the bureau announced late Saturday, while sea warnings were in effect for the areas south, west and east of Taiwan’s main island.

Even though the radius of the storm was not expected to include the main island, the bureau warned residents of Southern Taiwan to prepare for heavy rain and flooding. Southeast Taiwan and Central Taiwan could also fall victim to torrential rain, even as Linfa moved away, the bureau said.

Landslides were possible in mountainous areas, and members of the public were dissuaded from hiking in the mountains and walking along rivers, the bureau said. Sightseers should also stay away from the country’s southwestern coastlines, since high waves were possible in some popular tourist areas like Kenting and Hsiao Liuchiu Island.

Reports of injuries and deaths include some peopel hit by flying debris and a drowning of a 14 year old boy in Sanchin on Taiwan's north coast. For anyone in southeast China and Taiwan reading this please remember the adage to "Run from the water and hide from the wind." Typhoons and tropical storm can be quite unpredictable at the micro level. Stay indoors and avoid rising waters, please.

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