- At 440 miles across, Typhoon Muifa is a true monster of the seas. It's being blamed for eight deaths in the Philippines and now is set to pound China with dumptruck loads of rain. (NASA image taken Aug. 4, 2011)
A huge storm, the second super typhoon of 2011, is on a crash course for eastern China, with landfall predicted on Saturday. It's already killed 8 people in the Philippines and promises to sow more rain-soaked doom over Shanghai and possibly Beijing, according to this storm track from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
It's name? Muifa, or "plum blossom" in Cantonese.
What a sweet name for a killer storm. Typhoon Muifa originated as a depression late in July in the west Pacific Ocean and quickly pumped itself up into a true monster whirling winds up to 160 m.p.h., becoming Super Typhoon Muifa on July 28. The storm then weakened somewhat but has been potent enough to cancel flights in southern Japan, drive 36-foot-tall waves in the surrounding seas and force the partial closure of one of China's busiest maritime commercial centers, Ningbo Port. More than 200,000 people have been evacuated from the Chinese coast and hundreds of flights are scratched, reported the Agence France-Presse:
A weather official in Shanghai told local media the city had "basically ruled out" a direct hit, yet warned it might be close.
The typhoon would be the worst to affect China's commercial centre since 2005, when Typhoon Matsa killed seven people.
Not content with the "plum blossom" moniker, Chinese bloggers have redubbed Muifa "Mei Chaofeng," a much more satisfying phrase that means "Iron Corpse." (The title apparently refers to a character from the kungfu novel, The Legend of the Condor Heroes. Mei Chaofeng has mastered the "White Boa Whip Skill"!) Here's what the megastorm looks like through the eyes of a Japanese weather satellite:
And this view of Typhoon Muifa was taken today by NASA's Aqua satellite. Miss out on the first super typhoon of 2011, Songda? Then swerve over here for this photo gallery of space images.