Typhoon Megi (2010)

Typhoon Megi (2010)
Typhoon Megi (Juan)
Typhoon (JMA)
Category 5 super typhoon (SSHS)
Typhoon Megi over the Philippines on October 18, 2010.
Formed October 12, 2010
Dissipated October 24, 2010
Highest winds 10-minute sustained:
230 km/h (145 mph)
1-minute sustained:
295 km/h (185 mph)
Lowest pressure 885 mbar (hPa; 26.13 inHg)
Fatalities Philippines Philippines 31[1]
Republic of China Taiwan 38[2]

Total: 69 dead, 4 missing

Damage $735.9 million (2010 USD)
Areas affected Philippines, Taiwan, People's Republic of China
Part of the 2010 Pacific typhoon season

Typhoon Megi (international designation: 1013, JTWC designation: 15W, PAGASA name: Juan) was one of the most intense tropical cyclones on record, attaining the lowest atmospheric pressure (885 hPa) since Vanessa in 1984 and the highest 10-minute sustained winds (230 km/h, 145 mph) since Bess in 1982 in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Megi, which means catfish in Korean, was the only super typhoon in 2010 and the first since Nida in 2009. Early on October 18, Megi made its first landfall over northeastern Luzon.[3] After passing Luzon, Megi weakened but quickly regained strength in the South China Sea, before weakening and losing its eyewall in the Taiwan Strait. Megi made its second landfall over Zhangpu in Fujian, China on October 23.[4]

Megi killed 31 people and wrought catastrophic damage over Luzon, making it one of the costliest typhoon in the Philippines. After moving to the South China Sea, the outflow of Megi and a weather front together brought torrential rainfall and killed 38 people in Yilan, Taiwan, making Megi the deadliest typhoon of 2010 in Taiwan.[5]


Meteorological history

Storm path

Typhoon Megi was first identified by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) on October 12 as a tropical disturbance roughly 90 km (55 mi) southeast of Guam. Radar imagery from the island depicted a developing low pressure area and a surface circulation. There were favorable environmental conditions, such as low wind shear, good upper-level divergence and poleward outflow.[6] The system quickly developed throughout the day, prompting the issuance of a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert at 09:00 UTC.[7] Several hours later, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) began monitoring the low as a tropical depression.[8] Early on October 13, the JTWC also classified the system as a tropical depression, giving it the identifier 15W.[9] Hours later, well-defined convective banding features developed around the system and thunderstorm activity over the center of circulation increased. Sea surface temperature above 28 °C (82 °F) and high oceanic heat content allowed for further strengthening. Situated to the southwest of a subtropical ridge, the system slowly tracked west-northwest towards the Philippines.[10] Around 12:00 UTC, the system further intensified into a tropical storm, earning the name Megi from the JMA.[11]

Late on October 13, Tropical Storm Megi became quasi-stationary, but a mid-latitude trough moving from the west caused the storm to resume a northwestward track around the periphery of the subtropical ridge.[12] Throughout the morning of October 14, a central dense overcast developed over the center of Megi, allowing for intensification. According to data from a hurricane hunter aircraft, the system had attained winds just below typhoon status and the barometric pressure had decreased to 986 hPa at 04:36 UTC.[13] Later that day, an eye appeared on satellite imagery, resulting in the JMA upgrading Megi to a severe tropical storm and the JTWC upgrading it to a category one typhoon. On October 15, the JMA upgraded Megi to a typhoon. Later that day, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) began to mention the typhoon and named it Juan.[14]

Typhoon Megi continued strengthened and started to turned westward on October 16. Early on October 17, Megi started to turned west-southwest and strengthened to a category five super typhoon, becoming the only super typhoon in 2010 and the first since Nida in 2009. Late on October 17, Megi attained the lowest atmospheric pressure (885 hPa) since Vanessa in 1984 and the highest 10-minute sustained winds (230 km/h, 145 mph) since Bess in 1982 in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, becoming one of the most intense tropical cyclones on record. Maintaining peak strength, Typhoon Megi made landfall over Isabela, Philippines at 03:25 UTC (11:25 PST) on October 18.[15][3] After traversing Luzon, Megi weakened to a category two typhoon but started to increase its eye diameter due to higher vertical wind shear in the South China Sea. Megi slowed in forward speed due to the arrival of another trough over the South China Sea extending over the Taiwan Strait and breaking the ridge, turning the typhoon northwest, then north.

Early on October 20, Megi strengthened back to a category four typhoon. On October 21, the JMA reported that Typhoon Megi regained its second but weaker peak strength by the atmospheric pressure decreasing to 935 hPa and the 10-minute sustained winds reaching 175 km/h (110 mph). Later that day, Typhoon Megi turned north-northeastward and started to weaken because of colder sea surface temperature in the northern South China Sea. Late on October 22, Megi lost its eyewall structure and weakened to a severe tropical storm in the Taiwan Strait, before making landfall over Zhangpu in Fujian, China on the next day.[4] After moving into mainland China, Megi weakened to a tropical storm and further weakened to a tropical depression late on October 23. On October 24, the remnant of Megi dissipated completely.



Typhoon Megi approaching the Philippines on October 17

The typhoon entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility early on October 16, prompting new and modified warnings for the Luzon coast.[16] There was the expectation that the typhoon would become a super-typhoon and produce as much rain as Typhoon Ketsana in 2009,[17][18] with the possibility of Magat Dam being filled.[19] As Typhoon Megi neared Luzon, the Philippine National Red Cross established centers for evacuees fleeing the typhoon.[20]

In response to orders from President Benigno Aquino III, PAGASA posted hourly tropical cyclone updates.[21] Inhabitants of the Isabela and Cagayan provinces were advised to bring in their harvests before Megi arrived, while fishermen in the Ilocos region were advised to seek shelter.[22] Late on October 16, PAGASA issued Storm Signal 1 for Cagayan, Isabela, Babuyan and Calayan islands in the northern Philippines,[23] while President Aquino called for cooperation from all concerned government and private sector groups to prevent fatalities.[24]

On October 17, evacuations began with hundreds of people fleeing from Luzon[25][26] as Megi intensified into a super typhoon and Storm signal number 3 raised.[27] Over 18 provinces had been placed under alert for the typhoon as it approached the Philippines.[28] Later on that day, all state schools and colleges were suspended.[29] PAGASA declared public storm warning number 4 announcing that over 7 million people could be affected.[30][31] The storm warning was later raised to the highest level over Cagayan and Isabela[32] as tropical storm force winds began blowing throughout Cagayan province.[33]

By October 18, all state schools and colleges in Cagayan, the Ilocos and the Cordilleras were closed for the day in preparation.[34] Isabela province was placed under a state of calamity when the typhoon made landfall and moved further inland.[35]

Mainland China

Typhoon Megi approaching China on October 21

China began preparing for Super Typhoon Megi on October 17 by issuing an orange alert to local authorities and advising all vessels to return to port.[36] Evacuation of coastal residents began on October 18[37] as authorities issued disaster warnings and urgent advice to local officials in Hainan, Guangxi, Guangdong and Fujian provinces to prepare for relief operations.[38] The government ordered all fishing vessels to return to port by midnight on October 19 as Typhoon Megi entered the South China Sea.[39] The following day, China railways suspended all trains in and out of Hainan in preparation for Typhoon Megi.[40] Equipment used in relief operations from heavy rains the previous month were kept in preparation for Typhoon Megi.[41] As the typhoon approached, over 150,000 residents from coastal areas of Fujian province were evacuated and tens of thousands of fishing vessels were ordered to seek shelter in port. Warnings were also issued to prepare for storm surges when the typhoon arrives.[42] Rail services to and from Hainan Island were resumed while tonnes of food and other supplies were brought in for disaster relief.[43]

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Observatory had been tracking the location of Megi and issuing advisories since October 14.[citation needed] The Hong Kong Observatory issued Standby Signal No. 1 at 16:35 HKT (08:35 UTC) on October 20 .[44] The Government had already informed the Travel Industry council and the Hong Kong International Airport to make plans in case of passengers being stranded at the airport[citation needed]. The Observatory subsequently issued Strong Wind Signal No. 3 at 05:40 HKT (21:40 UTC) on October 21 (October 20 UTC).[45] As of 8:40pm on October 22 all Signals were cancelled by the Hong Kong Observatory.


The Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) hoisted the Standby Signal No. 1 at 19:00 HKT(11:00 UTC) on 19 October 2010.



The centre of the storm made landfall near Divalacan Bay, Luzon, at 11:25 a.m. (local time) on October 18 preceded by torrential rain and flash flooding[46][47] forcing residents of the area to seek shelter.[48] A reported total of 3,687 individuals from the northern Philippines[49] were evacuated to schools, churches, halls and other sturdier structures [50] but over 200,000 people were rendered homeless.[51][52][53] Although at little risk of being struck by the departing typhoon, classes throughout Metro Manila were suspended on October 19 as a precaution.[54]

Initial estimates were reported that Philippines could lose over 600,000 metric tons of the rice crop [55][56] as the typhoon swept through some of the biggest agricultural areas, such as Isabela and Cagayan,[57] in the northern Philippines. Official estimates following the passing of the typhoon placed agricultural losses at around US$34 million with tens of thousands of tons of rice and corn lost.[58][59] Fears of a rice shortage in the next few weeks were allayed by the National Food Authority which announced that sufficient food had been stockpiled.[60]

Megi inflicted substantial damage to much of the infrastructure as it crossed Luzon.[61] Communication infrastructure in Cagayan and Isabela suffered extensive damage during the typhoon with an estimated 90% of regional communications lost.[62] Officials believe that it would take five days to restore them.[63] Electricity in the northern provinces of Cagayan, Kalinga, Apayao, Northern Isabela[disambiguation needed ], the Mountain Province, parts of Benguet, Ilocos Norte, la Union, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, parts of Tuguegarao[64] was disrupted by Megi. The National Grid Corp. announced that eleven towers along one transmission line suffered extensive damage, which also affected power supplies to the capital leading to outages of up to 3 hours.[65]

Costliest Philippine typhoons
Rank Name Year PHP USD
1 Parma (Pepeng) 2009 27.3 billion 608 million
2 Nesat (Pedring) 2011 15 billion 333 million
3 Fengshen (Frank) 2008 13.5 billion 301 million
4 Ketsana (Ondoy) 2009 11 billion 244 million
5 Megi (Juan) 2010 11 billion 255 million
6 Mike (Ruping) 1990 10.8 billion 241 million
7 Angela (Rosing) 1995 10.8 billion 241 million
8 Flo (Kadiang) 1993 8.75 billion 195 million
9 Babs (Loleng) 1998 6.79 billion 151 million
10 Xangsane (Milenyo) 2006 6.61 billion 147 million
Source: [1], [2], [3]

Many domestic and international flights by carriers such as Cebu Pacific[66][67] and Philippine Airlines[68] bound for the northern Philippines were cancelled because of the impact of the typhoon, but as the typhoon leaves the islands, many flights were restored.[69] Many roads in Luzon remained closed as of October 18[70] and bus operators have cancelled trips to Cagayan and Isabela due to the poor weather.[71] The departure of Megi will leave large quantities of debris as well as unsanitary conditions that could bring outbreaks of disease if not cleared.[72]

The Philippine Red Cross dispatched a water search and rescue team to Cagayan to aid rescue operations.[73] UNICEF announced that the organisation was monitoring the event and that relief supplies were being prepared should the Philippines Government request aid.[74] The United Nations Office for the Coordination on Humanitarian Affairs have also committed to helping with disaster relief .[75][76] Thousands of military reserve officers and volunteers were on standby, along with helicopters with one retired army general describing the operations as "preparing for war".[77] Search and rescue operations for survivors was hampered by winds that were still reaching 210 kilometres (130 mi) throughout the region.[78] According to official reports, the province of Isabela bore the brunt of the storm with the towns of Palanan and Divilacan suffering extensive damage and Maconacon reportedly being completely destroyed.[79]

PAGASA lowered storm signals as the typhoon weakened when it crossed into the mountains in northern Luzon.[80]


One person drowned near Tuguegarao, Cagayan during the afternoon of October 18 after being swept away in a river that had overflowed its banks.[81][82] The body of another man who had drowned in Ilocos Sur province was recovered.[83] Another five people died during the storm: one man after being pinned by a falling tree, a mother and her two children when a tree fell on their house and a fifth when struck by lightning. Three people were killed in Isabela province by a storm surge while another drowned attempting to cross a river in Nueva Ecija province.[84] A further nine people have been injured, some by falling debris.[85][86][87] The president made a statement expressing his sympathy and condolences for the bereft families, while also declaring that despite the strength of Megi, the loss of life was significantly less than during Typhoon Basyang and Tropical Storm Ondoy.[88] As of October 20, the death toll stood at 19.[89]

Juan becomes the second supertyphoon, 21 years after its first storm, Supertyphoon Tasing passed this area in 1989.


Throughout Yilan County, torrential rainfall from Typhoon Megi and the weather front, peaking at 1,182 mm (46.5 in) in Suao,[90] triggered widespread flash flooding and landslides. According to the Central Weather Bureau, a record 939 mm (37.0 in) of rain fell in a 24 hour span between October 20 and 21. This surpassed the previous record set by Typhoon Morakot in August 2009, just over a year prior.[91] In Suao, a record 181.55 mm (7.148 in) of rain fell within an hour, triggering some of the worst flash flooding in the area in over 20 years.[92] Megi also brought much rainfall in Hualien, Taitung, Pingtung, Taipei, Keelung, and New Taipei. At least 12 people have been confirmed dead and 23 others are missing. Early damage estimates placed losses to agriculture at NT$45 million ($1.5 million USD).[93] Later reports on October 22 indicated that seven people were killed when the temple they were sheltering in was buried by a landslide.[94] Near Suao, multiple landslides struck a major highway stranding more than 400 people. Torrential rainfall caused a 500 m (1,600 ft) section of a nearby mountain to collapse, burying a bus carrying 19 people, whom officials fear may have all perished. Air force helicopters have been called in to aid in the search for the bus and any survivors.[95]

By the morning of October 24, 13 fatalities had been confirmed and 25 people were reported missing.[2] After more than ten days of search-and-rescue operations, all missing persons across the island were declared legally deceased.[96]

Mainland China

After brushing Taiwan, Typhoon Megi struck southern China as a severe tropical storm. Throughout Fujian Province, an estimated 729,800 people were affected by the storm. A total of 36,050 hectares of crops and 530 houses were destroyed by the storm with overall losses incurred in Fujian Province reaching 2.8 billion yuan ($411.7 million USD).[97]

Relief efforts

Child United, a Seattle-based non-profit which provides disaster relief in Asia, was on standby to provide assistance to families left homeless by the typhoon.[98] Their relief operation began October 18 in the Philippines, with supplies already in-country being prepared for immediate delivery to the disaster site, and additional supplies prepared for shipment from the United States.[99] The organization collected monetary donations to assist in further disaster relief, as well as donations of towels, sheets, toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) and canned goods.[98]

The USS Essex Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) provided disaster relief in the aftermath. The ESG was composed of the USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Denver (LPD 9) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). Amphibious Squadron 11 and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 (HMM-262) were embarked with the ESG.[100] Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265) also provided disaster relief. The unit was ashore at the former Clark Air Base (known today as the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport) participating in an exercise when the typhoon hit. Their mission changed from participation in the exercise to disaster relief.[101]


Due to extremely high amount of damage that the storm has caused in the Philippines, the PAGASA announced that the name Juan would be stricken off their tropical cyclone Naming lists. No replacement name has been chosen yet.

See also

Cyclone Catarina from the ISS on March 26 2004.JPG Tropical cyclones portal


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