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Hurricane Season 2008: Typhoon Kalmaegi (Western Pacific)
July 21, 2008

Typhoon Kalmaegi Brings Heavy Flooding to Taiwan

Map of the path of Kalmaegi Credit: Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC)
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Kalmaegi, the 8th named storm in the West Pacific this season, began as a tropical depression on the 14th of July 2008 in the western Philippine Sea about 200 miles (~320 km) northeast of the Philippines. After organizing into a tropical storm on the evening of the 15th (local time), the system initially settled into a northerly track in the direction of the southern Ryukyu Islands east of Taiwan. By the morning of the 17th (local time), Kalmaegi had strengthened into a category 1 typhoon and turned to the northwest in the direction of northern Taiwan. Kalmaegi, which means "sea gull" in Korean, intensified into a category 2 typhoon with sustained winds estimated at 90 knots (104 mph) by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center before making landfall along the northeast coast of Taiwan on the evening of July 17th (local time). The storm lashed the island with high winds and very heavy rains, resulting in widespread flooding and landslides.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite, which has now been in service for over 10 years, has the primary mission of measuring rainfall in the Tropics using a combination of passive microwave and active radar sensors. The TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center monitors rainfall over the global Tropics. TMPA rainfall totals are shown here for the period 11 to 18 July 2008 for Taiwan and the surrounding region. The highest rainfall totals exceed 400 mm (~16 inches, shown in red) and are located over southwestern Taiwan. At least 100 mm (~4 inches) of rain cover the entire island, although most of the island had at least 200 mm (~8 inches, shown in yellow). Locally up to 44 inches of rain were reported. The interaction between the storm's circulation and the island's topography are responsible for the high amounts. The solid black line shows the path of the storm with appropriate storm symbols denoting the 6-hourly positions. So far up to 14 people are reported to have died as a result of the storm in Taiwan.

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Text credit: Steve Lang, SSAI/NASA GSFC

July 14, 2008

Tropical Depression in Western Pacific Headed to Taiwan

Satellite image of TD 08W Credit: NASA/JPL
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Monday, July 14, 2008 brought the development of yet another tropical depression in the far western Pacific Ocean. It had maximum sustained winds near 25 knots (29 mph).

At 15:00 Zulu Time (11:00 a.m. EDT), Tropical Depression 08W (TD#08W) was located approximately 425 nautical miles south-southeast of Taipei, Taiwan, or near 18.5 degrees north latitude and 124.3 degrees east longitude. It has tracked west-southwest at 9 knots, and is generating 10 foot high waves in the open ocean.

By Thursday, July 17, TD#08W is expected to be very close to Taipei, Taiwan, then skirt the southeast China coast, near Shanghai.

This infrared image of TD#08W was created by data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), an instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite. The image was created on July 14 at 4:59 UTC (12:58 a.m. EDT).

The AIRS image shows the temperature of the cloud tops or the surface of the Earth in cloud-free regions. The lowest temperatures (in purple) are associated with high, cold cloud tops that make up the top of TD#08W.

TD#08W is the circular blue and purple area on this satellite image, and is located just to the northeast of Luzon, the Philippines in this image. Taiwan is located above and to the left of the center of TD#08W.

The infrared signal of the AIRS instrument does not penetrate through clouds. Where there are no clouds the AIRS instrument reads the infrared signal from the ocean and land surfaces, revealing warmer temperatures in orange and red.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center