Typhoon Nepartak, “The Perfect Storm,” Slams Taiwan and China
The stage was set for a blockbuster first storm of the season due to a record period (200 days) of inactivity in the Western Pacific Tropical Basin. The lack of tropical cyclones allowed for a very large region of untouched warm water to gain anomalously high ocean heat content. When El Nino ended in June, a disturbance evolved off the monsoon trough and was able to tap into that high ocean heat content—resulting in the “perfect storm.”—Earth Networks Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani
Time-lapse of Super Typhoon Nepartak via Japan Meteorology Agency
StreamerRT℠ Radar Alternative Screenshot of Nepartak Closing in on Taiwan on 7 July 2016.
Typhoon Nepartak began to develop on 30 June 2016 as a low-pressure area to the south of Guam. On 2 July 2016, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) upgraded it to a tropical depression. The next day the JMA upgraded the system to a tropical storm and named it Nepartak as winds 6-12 kph developed outflow channels on both its poleward and equatorward facing sides, allowing it to intensify very rapidly. On 6 July the westward moving storm was classified as a Category-5 Super Typhoon and was projected to hit Taiwan.
The storm managed to pass over a National Taiwan University buoy on 7 July 2016. Barometer instruments on the buoy recorded a pressure of approximately 897 hPa.
Early in the morning of 8 July 2016, the storm became a Category-4 typhoon and hit Orchid Island, Taiwan, where an anemometer recorded winds gusts up to 256 kph. The system then moved slowly over the island country at a speed of just 12 kph. The typhoon sustained winds of 155 kph as it moved northeast through the southern counties of the country. Nepartak entered the Taiwan Strait around 14:30 Taiwan Time that evening and made landfall as a tropical storm in Fujian, China the next day. The storm would dissipate over China by 10 July 2016.
Even though a large amount of the area Nepartak hit in Taiwan was mostly unpopulated, the storm’s violent winds and heavy rains still claimed the lives of at least three people on the island. Two of the three deaths from Taiwan have been confirmed as drowning deaths due to floods. The graph below shows that over 559 mm of rain fell in the city of Tianxiang with other high amounts in both Hualien and Pingtung counties.
Taiwanese officials reported that approximately 300 individuals sustained injuries during the storm.
Photo: Xinhua/Barcroft Images
In the weeks leading up to Nepartak’s arrival, China was already struggling with heavy flooding. Prolonged periods of heavy rain caused a landslide in China’s Xingjiang region that killed 35 people. Flooding and other landslides are responsible for at least 160 deaths prior to Nepartak. The tropical storm claimed the lives of six Chinese people and forced nearly 21.3 million people to relocate.
Photo: VCG via Getty Images
Damage to crops, building and other critical Chinese infrastructure resulted in an estimated 900 million yuan in economic loss.