On September 14, 2022, Typhoon Muifa made landfall twice near China’s largest metropolitan area and several of the world’s major shipping ports. The typhoon first crossed over land at Zhoushan Island, then passed over Hangzhou Bay, and eventually came ashore in Shanghai.
News reports called it the strongest storm to reach the Yangtze River Delta since Typhoon Damrey in 2012. An estimated 230 million people live on and around the delta. Operations were suspended in the major ports of Ningbo and Shanghai, as well as oil and gas operations on Zhoushan. Ferry and shipping traffic were suspended, fishing boats were called into port, and flights to and from the region were canceled. According to China’s Xinhua news agency, more than 1.3 million people were relocated from Zhoushan before the arrival of the storm.
Just after 1 p.m. local time on September 14, 2022, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi-NPP satellite acquired this natural-color image of Muifa as it was approaching southeastern China. At 10:15 p.m. (14:15 Universal Time) on September 14, the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported that the center of the storm had moved offshore of Zhoushan and was about 150 kilometers (90 miles) south-southeast of Shanghai. Muifa had sustained winds of 80 knots (90 miles/150 kilometers per hour), with gusts up to 100 knots at that time.
Earlier this week, Typhoon Muifa battered Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, which had been damaged by Typhoon Hinnamnor just a week earlier. Taiwan was also drenched by outer bands of Muifa as it passed.
The Western Pacific typhoon season stretches across the entire year, but the majority of storms usually form between May and October. So far in 2022, 16 tropical storms have formed in the basin, of which six have become typhoons. As of September 13, sea surface temperatures were quite warm in the Western Pacific, which provides fuel for tropical cyclones. However, the surface waters off of southeastern China were relatively cooler because the passage of Hinnamnor had caused water to well up from the depths. That may have kept Muifa from intensifying even more.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Story by Michael Carlowicz.