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Tropical Cyclone Overview for 2002

2.1 Review of tropical cyclones in 2002

2.1.1  Tropical cyclones over the western North Pacific (including the South China Sea)

In 2002, 28* tropical cyclones occurred over the western North Pacific and the South China Sea (i.e. the area bounded by the Equator, 45°N, 100°E and 180°), three less than the 30-year (1961-1990) average. Throughout the year, 16 tropical cyclones attained typhoon strength, which is the same as the normal figure.

The first tropical cyclone of the year formed in January. The monthly frequencies of the occurrence of tropical cyclones and typhoons in the western North Pacific and the South China Sea in 2002 are shown in Figure 2.1.

During the year, nine tropical cyclones affected Japan (including Ryukyu Islands), two traversed South Korea, one moved over Taiwan, two hit the Philippines and six made landfall over the mainland of China.

The most intense tropical cyclone in 2002 was Fengseng (0209). Fengseng had a maximum wind speed of about 205 km/h and a minimum sea-level pressure about 925 hPa. Moreover, two tropical cyclones, Ele (0217) and Huko (0224), forming over the central North Pacific moved westwards across the International Date Line and entered the western North Pacific.

In 2002, none of the tropical cyclones forming over the northwest Pacific moved into the South China Sea. The only similar case during the last three decades occurred in 1997. Usually, the subtropical ridge over the Pacific extends westwards to southern China in July, steering the tropical cyclones over the northwest Pacific to move westwards and enter the South China Sea (Figure 2.3.a). However, in July 2002, the subtropical ridge did not extend to southern China and the steering flow over the northwest Pacific had a more northerly direction than usual. As a result, the tropical cyclones in the region were carried northwards and did not enter the South China Sea (Figure 2.3.b). This situation is believed to be related to the occurrence of El Nino.

2.1.2 Tropical cyclones in Hong Kong's area of responsibility

Amongst those 28 tropical cyclones in 2002, 10 occurred inside Hong Kong's area of responsibility (i.e. the area bounded by 10°N, 30°N, 105°E and 125°E). This was 39 % less than the 30-year (1961-90) annual average of 16.4 (Table 2.1). Seven of these 10 tropical cyclones developed within Hong Kong's area of responsibility. Altogether, 227 tropical cyclone warnings to ships and vessels were issued by the Hong Kong Observatory in 2002 (Table 4.2).

2.1.3 Tropical cyclones over the South China Sea

There were seven tropical cyclones affecting the South China Sea (i.e. the area bounded by 10°N, 25°N, 105°E and 120°E) in 2002. Six of them formed over the area and one developed over the central part of the Philippines.

2.1.4 Tropical cyclones affecting Hong Kong

Only three tropical cyclones affected Hong Kong in 2002 (Figure 2.2), about half of the normal number (Table 2.2). These three tropical cyclones were Kammuri (0212), Vongfong (0214) and Hagupit (0218). All of them formed in the South China Sea.

The highest signal issued this year was the Gale or Storm Signal No. 8 when Hagupit affected Hong Kong in September. Kammuri and Vongfong in August only necessitated the issuance of the Standby Signal No. 1 in Hong Kong.

2.1.5 Tropical cyclone rainfall

Tropical cyclone rainfall (the total rainfall recorded at the Hong Kong Observatory from the time when a tropical cyclone is centred within 600 km of Hong Kong to 72 hours after it has dissipated or moved farther than 600 km away from Hong Kong) in 2002 was 520.8 mm. This is 29 % below the normal of 737.9 mm and accounts for some 21 % of the year's total rainfall of 2 490.0 mm.


*   two of them, namely Ele (0217) and Huko (0224), formed over the central North Pacific and moved across the International Date Line into the western North Pacific.

2.2 Monthly overview

A monthly overview of tropical cyclones is given in this Section. Detailed reports on tropical cyclones affecting Hong Kong are presented in Section 3.

JANUARY

Tapah (0201) developed as a tropical depression about 1 050 km east-southeast of Manila on the night of 11 January. Tracking northwestwards, Tapah intensified into a tropical storm the next day. On the night of 13 January, it weakened into a tropical depression and turned north. After skirting the northeastern part of Luzon, Tapah dissipated over Luzon Strait on the morning of 14 January.

FEBRUARY - MARCH

Mitag (0202) developed as a tropical depression over the Pacific, about 1 350 km southeast of Guam on 27 February. Tracking mainly to the west, it intensified into a tropical storm the next day. It became a severe tropical storm on 1 March and intensified further into a typhoon one day later. Mitag then turned to west-northwest, skirting Yap on 3 March. In the next few days, Mitag gradually changed its course towards northeast and intensified to attaining a maximum sustained wind speed of about 175 km/h. On 7 March, it weakened into a severe tropical storm and moved to the east. Under the influence of northeast monsoon, Mitag weakened rapidly and became a tropical depression on 8 March. Heading south, Mitag soon dissipated over the Pacific east of Luzon.

APRIL

No tropical cyclone occurred over the western North Pacific and the South China Sea in April.

MAY

On 15 May, Hagibis (0203) developed as a tropical depression over the Pacific, about 750 km south-southeast of Guam. Tracking to the northwest, it intensified into a tropical storm the next day and strengthened further into a severe tropical storm on 17 May. Hagibis then slowed down and turned north. It attained typhoon intensity on 18 May. Hagibis began to accelerate towards the northeast on 19 May with its intensity reaching a maximum of about 165 km/h. On the morning of 21 May, it weakened into a severe tropical storm and became an extratropical cyclone the same day.

JUNE

On 6 June, Noguri (0204) developed as a tropical depression over the northern part of the South China Sea, about 200 km west-southwest of Dongsha Dao. Tracking to the east, it intensified into a tropical storm over the Luzon Strait on 8 June. On 9 June, Noguri changed its course to the north-northeast and intensified rapidly into a typhoon. Noguri weakened into a severe tropical storm that night and then accelerated towards the northeast. On 11 June, Noguri weakened further into a tropical depression and then dissipated over Japan after landfall.

On 29 June, Rammasun (0205) developed as a tropical depression at about 250 km northwest of Yap and intensified into a tropical storm on the same day. It moved northwestwards over the Pacific and strengthened gradually into a typhoon on 1 July. It then headed towards the seas east of Taiwan. The torrential rain associated with Rammasun caused flooding and landslides in northern Taiwan. The air traffic was also temporarily affected. On 4 July, Rammasun turned north and moved across the East China Sea. In Shanghai, five persons were killed and 44 others were injured when a temporary house was blown down at a construction site. Rammasun weakened into a severe tropical storm on 5 July and changed its course to the northeast. It weakened into a tropical storm on 6 July and made landfall over the west coast of South Korea. Strong winds and heavy rain associated with Rammasun damaged many roads and bridges and left four men dead in South Korea. Rammasun became an extratropical cyclone in Sea of Japan on the same day.

On the early morning of 29 June, Chataan (0206) formed as a tropical depression over the Pacific, about 1 500 km southeast of Guam. It strengthened into a tropical storm later on the same day. Chataan moved generally to the northwest in the next few days and attained typhoon strength on 5 July. Chataan turned north on 8 July and then moved northeast towards Japan in the following day. On 10 July, it weakened into a severe tropical storm and skirted to the south of Tokyo. Chataan then moved along the east coast of Japan and became an extratropical cyclone on 11 July. In Japan, widespread flooding caused by Chataan resulted in at least four deaths and two missing.

JULY

Halong (0207) formed as a tropical depression over the Pacific, about 1 500 km east-southeast of Guam on 7 July. While tracking to the west-northwest, it intensified into a severe tropical storm on 9 July. It strengthened further into a typhoon on 11 July and headed northwest. On 14 July, it turned north and crossed Ryukyu Islands. One day later, it weakened into a severe tropical storm and accelerated to the northeast towards Japan. Halong swept over Tokyo with strong winds and heavy rain on 16 July. A number of flights were forced to cancel. Halong became an extratropical cyclone over the Pacific east of Japan that night.

Over the northern part of the South China Sea, Nakri (0208) formed at about 150 km northeast of Dongsha Dao on 8 July. It moved slowly northeastwards and strengthened into a tropical storm the next day. After traversing the west coast of Taiwan, it made landfall near Taibei on 10 July. Nakri then moved east away from Taiwan. It changed its course towards north near the Ryukyu Islands on 12 July and became an extratropical cyclone over the East China Sea the following day. In Taiwan, Nakri claimed two lives and injured 11 people.

Fengshen (0209) developed as a tropical depression at about 1 000 km south-southeast of Wake Island on 14 July. It intensified rapidly into a typhoon on 15 July, and maintained a northwest movement in the next ten days. Fengshen was an intense typhoon with maximum winds estimated to be over 200 km/h. On 25 July, Fengshen weakened into a severe tropical storm when it approached Kyushu of Japan, disrupting air and sea traffic there. On 26 July, Fengshen skirted Cheju and weakened into a tropical storm. Fengshen traversed the Yellow Sea on 27 July and then made landfall near Qingdao of China. It dissipated overland the next day and brought heavy rain to Beijing.

On the early morning of 21 July, Kalmaegi (0210) developed as a tropical depression near the International Date-line, about 1 300 km east of Wake Island. It moved northwestwards and dissipated over water in the afternoon, lasting for less than a day.

Fung-wong (0211) formed as a tropical depression about 150 km southwest of Iwo Jima on 21 July. It tracked westwards and intensified gradually into a typhoon on 23 July. On the same day, Fung-wong interacted with Fengshen. Under the Fujiwhara effect, Fung-wong began to move in anti-clockwise direction around Fengshen. Fung-wong weakened into a severe tropical storm on 24 July and turned north the following day. On 26 July, it weakened further into a tropical storm and moved northwestwards. Fung-wong finally dissipated over the seas west of Kyushu on the night of 27 July.

On 20 July, a tropical depression formed over the central part of the Philippines, about 250 km southeast of Manila. It tracked northwestwards across Luzon in the next two days. After entering the South China Sea, it weakened into an area of low pressure on 22 July.

AUGUST

Kammuri (0212) developed as a tropical depression over the northern part of the South China Sea, about 400 km east-southeast of Hong Kong on 3 August. The Standby Signal No. 1 was issued shortly after its formation. Kammuri tracked westwards and strengthened into a tropical storm the next day. It then slowed down and abruptly turned to the north-northeast towards the east coast of Guangdong. On 5 August, Kammuri intensified further into a severe tropical storm. After making landfall near Shanwei, Kammuri moved northwards and weakened gradually into an area of low pressure over Jiangxi Province that night.

A tropical depression formed at about 1 100 km east-southeast of Manila on 11 August. It moved northwestwards over the Pacific and weakened into an area of low pressure to the east of the Philippines on 13 August.

Phanfone (0213) developed as a tropical depression at about 1 500 km east-southeast of Guam on 11 August and moved to the north-northwest. It intensified into a tropical storm the next day, further into a severe tropical storm on 13 August and attained typhoon intensity on 14 August. In the next four days, Phanfone kept moving northwestwards over the Pacific. On 18 August, Phanfone turned abruptly to the northeast. It weakened into a severe tropical storm on 20 August and became an extratropical cyclone the same night. While approaching Japan, Phanfone brought heavy rain to Honshu where some train services and flights were disrupted. There were also four people missing in the rough seas west of Tokyo.

Vongfong (0214) developed as a tropical depression at about 280 km south-southeast of Xisha Dao on 15 August. It moved slowly to the northeast in the first two days and turned to the west-northwest on 17 August. The Standby Signal No. 1 was issued by the Hong Kong Observatory that night. Vongfong intensified into a tropical storm and moved towards the north-northwest on 18 August. It accelerated towards the west coast of Guangdong on 19 August and intensified into a severe tropical storm that afternoon. Vongfong skirted the northeastern coast of Hainan and then made landfall near Zhangjiang the same night. After landfall, it weakened rapidly and dissipated over Guangxi on 20 August.

On 23 August, Rusa (0215) formed as a tropical depression over the Pacific, about 600 km southwest of Wake Island. It tracked towards the west-northwest and strengthened into a tropical storm the same day. Rusa strengthened further to a severe tropical storm on 24 August, and to a typhoon on 26 August. It turned to the northwest on 29 August and moved across the Ryukyu Islands. Rusa turned north the next day and made landfall over South Korea on 31 August. Rusa weakened rapidly after landfall and became an extratropical cyclone over the Sea of Japan on the first day of September. During the passage of Rusa in South Korea, 151 people were killed and 33 others were found missing. About 17 000 houses were destroyed and thousands of cars were washed away by floods. More than 20 000 hectares of farmland were also inundated. The economic loss was estimated to be over USD 4 billion.

Sinlaku (0216) developed as a tropical depression about 1 200 km east-northeast of Guam on 29 August. It moved to the north-northwest and intensified into a tropical storm the same day. On 30 August, Sinlaku intensified further into a severe tropical storm and changed its course towards the northwest. It attained typhoon strength on 31 August and moved to the west in the next few days. It moved across Okinawa on the night of 4 September and then slowed down over the East China Sea in the next two days. Sinlaku speeded up on 7 September and headed towards Zhejiang. It made landfall in the same evening about 100 km south of Wenzhou. Sinlaku weakened into a severe tropical storm after making landfall and became an area of low pressure over Jiangxi Province on 8 September. In the fury of Sinlaku, 26 people were killed and 5 were reported missing in Zhejiang. 7 900 houses collapsed, and more than 7 million people and 170 000 hectares of crops were affected.

Typhoon Ele (0217) was a hurricane which formed over the central North Pacific. It moved northwestwards across the International Date Line and entered the western North Pacific on 30 August. While meandering towards the north-northwest in the next ten days, Ele weakened into a severe tropical storm on 7 September and became a tropical storm on 8 September. Ele eventually transformed into an extratropical cyclone on 9 September.

SEPTEMBER

Hagupit (0218) developed as a tropical depression about 140 km southeast of Dongsha Dao on 10 September and moved steadily west-northwest over the northern part of the South China Sea. It intensified rapidly into a tropical storm the same night and became a severe tropical storm on 11 September. On 12 September, Hagupit made landfall near Yangjiang in western Guangdong and weakened into a tropical storm. It then turned west and weakened further into a tropical depression that night. On the early morning of 13 September, Hagupit weakened into an area of low pressure over the coastal areas of Guangxi. Off the coast of Guangdong, one ship sank and another lost contact with the rescue centre during the passage of Hagupit, with at least 20 persons missing. The high winds and heavy rain associated with Hagupit also damaged some houses and farmlands over western Guangdong.

Changmi (0219) formed as a tropical depression about 600 km northwest of Iwo Jima on the early morning of 22 September. Tracking northeastwards, it intensified into a tropical storm the same day. Changmi accelerated and became an extratropical cyclone on 23 September.

Over the South China Sea, Mekkhala (0220) formed as a tropical depression about 200 km south of Xisha Dao on 23 September. It moved to the northwest and deepened into a tropical storm on 25 September. After traversing the western part of Hainan, Mekkhala turned north and entered Beibu Wan on 26 September. One day later, it changed course towards the east. Mekkhala weakened into a tropical depression over Leizhou on 28 September and dissipated over the coast of western Guangdong later. Around Hainan, more than 20 fishing boats sank or ran aground in high winds.

Higos (0221) formed as a tropical depression about 1 000 km east-northeast of Guam on 27 September. Tracking towards the west-northwest, Higos intensified into a tropical storm the same day. Higos strengthened into a severe tropical storm on the early morning of 28 September and attained typhoon intensity that night. It turned to the north-northeast on 30 September and then accelerated towards Japan. On 1 October, it made landfall near Tokyo and moved northwards across the northern part of Honshu. Higos weakened into a severe tropical storm on the early morning of 2 October and soon became an extratropical cyclone off the northwest coast of Hokkaido. In Japan, Higos left behind four deaths, one person missing and over 60 others injured. In addition, more than 300 houses were destroyed or inundated.

OCTOBER

Bavi (0222) developed as a tropical depression about 1 100 km east-southeast of Guam on 9 October. It moved to the west-northwest and intensified into a tropical storm the same day. Bavi then headed north-northwest and intensified into a severe tropical storm on 11 October. It turned to the north one day later. On 13 October, Bavi weakened into a tropical storm in the afternoon and eventually transformed into an extratropical cyclone over the Pacific that night.

Maysak (0223) formed as a tropical depression over the Pacific about 550 km west of Wake Island on 27 October and tracked north-northwestwards. Maysak strengthened into a tropical storm and accelerated towards the northeast the next day. It intensified further into a severe tropical storm on 29 October. Maysak became an extratropical cyclone over the Pacific on 30 October.

NOVEMBER

Typhoon Huko (0224) was originally a hurricane which formed over the central North Pacific. It moved west-northwestwards across the International Date Line and entered the western North Pacific on 3 November. One day later, it turned to the northwest. On 5 November, Huko weakened into a severe tropical storm and headed north. It accelerated towards the east-northeast on 6 November and weakened into a tropical storm the same night. Huko became an extratropical cyclone over the Pacific on 7 November.

The second tropical cyclone in November, Haishen (0225), formed as a tropical depression about 400 km south-southeast of Guam on 20 November. Tracking towards the west-northwest, Haishen intensified into a tropical storm the following day. On 22 November, it strengthened further into a severe tropical storm and turned gradually to the north. After attaining typhoon intensity on 23 November, it headed towards the northeast and speeded up. Haishen transformed into an extratropical cyclone on the early morning of 25 November.

DECEMBER

Pongsona (0226) formed as a tropical depression about 1 300 km south-southwest of Wake Island on 3 December. While tracking to the west, it intensified into a tropical storm that night. Pongsona intensified further into a severe tropical storm on 5 December and attained typhoon intensity the next day. It turned to the northwest on 7 December and skirted Guam one day later. Pongsona moved northwards on 9 December and then accelerated towards the northeast. On 11 December, Pongsona weakened into a severe tropical storm and then became an extratropical cyclone.

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Last revision date: <18 Dec 2012>