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Typhoon Saomai (Taiwan/China), August 2006


TAIPEI, Aug 9, 2006 (From AFP) - Taiwan warned residents to prepare for a typhoon packing heavy winds and airlines cancelled flights Wednesday just hours after a separate storm dumped torrential downpours on the island. Typhoon Saomai was headed for Taiwan with winds up to 144 kilometres per hour, the weather bureau said, adding that it was gathering speed and was set to hit the north and northeast late Wednesday. China Airlines cancelled its scheduled two flights to and from Okinawa while three other airlines called off their flights to the southeastern county of Taitung. Residents were urged to take precautions against the heavy rains and powerful winds, while those in mountainous regions were told to watch out for mudslides. Saomai, the Vietnamese word for the planet Venus, was about 400 kilometers east of Keelung city at 1000 GMT. It was moving at 28 kilometres per hour. Tropical Storm Bopha drenched Taitung earlier before losing strength and veering away. Last month another tropical storm, Bilis, left three dead and two wounded in while Typhoon Kaemi injured four people. Both storms claimed hundreds of lives in mainland China.

Map Location (From J. M. A.)

BEIJING, China, Friday, August 11, 2006 (From AP) - Typhoon Saomai, the strongest storm to strike China in 50 years, weakened to a tropical depression Friday but drenched the country's southeast after killing at least 104 people, blacking out cities and wrecking more than 50,000 houses. Another 190 people were missing after Saomai battered areas where more than 1.6 million people had evacuated before it hit late Thursday. Hardest-hit was Wenzhou, a coastal city where at least 81 people were killed, and 11 were missing, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said the Wenzhou suffered 4.5 billion yuan ($560 million) in damage, including more than 18,000 flattened houses. In Cangnan County on Wenzhou's outskirts, 43 bodies including those of eight children were found in the debris of collapsed houses where they sought shelter from the storm, Xinhua said. News photos showed relatives weeping over bodies covered in sheets and quilts. Saomai's winds gusted at up to 270 kph, as it battered the coast Thursday, Xinhua said. But it weakened to a tropical storm Friday morning and by midday the Hong Kong Observatory said its winds had fallen to 20 kph (12 mph), dropping it to tropical depression status. Torrential rains were forecast over the weekend in a swath of China's south stretching from coastal Zhejiang and Fujian inland to the poor rural provinces of Jiangxi and Anhui. Much of that region was still recovering from Tropical Storm Bilis, which killed more than 600 people last month, many of them in mountain villages and other inland areas. Saomai, the Vietnamese name for the planet Venus, was the eighth major storm to hit China during an unusually violent typhoon season. It killed at least two people in the Philippines earlier and dumped rain on Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Airlines canceled hundreds of flights. In China, deaths were reported in Zhejiang province, where Wenzhou is located, and neighboring Fujian province to the south. In Fujian, power was knocked out in the cities of Fuding, Xiapu, Zherong, Fu'an and Ningde, state media said. More than 32,000 houses were wrecked in Fujian, Xinhua said. The government didn't immediately announce statistics on damage to housing in Zhejiang outside of Wenzhou. State television showed cars flipped over on rain-slicked streets, fallen trees and broken road signs. Exhausted evacuees sat in public buildings waiting out the storm. Saomai was the most powerful typhoon to hit China since a storm on August 1, 1956, that had winds up to 234 kph, Xinhua said. It said that typhoon killed 4,900 people in Zhejiang. "It is the strongest typhoon that we have ever seen," Xinhua quoted an unnamed official as saying in Fuding, where at least two people were killed. The government said the city got more than 300 millimeters (12 inches) of rain in 12 hours. Ahead of the storm, about 1 million people were evacuated from flood-prone areas of Zhejiang and 620,000 from Fujian, according to the government.

Relief dispatched
More than 20,000 soldiers and paramilitary police reportedly were mobilized for relief work. The Fujian government said it sent 1,500 tents, 3,000 quilts and 50,000 pieces of clothing to storm survivors. Eight Taiwanese sailors were rescued after their vessel capsized in high waves Thursday, and four China sailors were saved from a boat that struck a reef, Xinhua reported. Late Friday, the government announced that it was allocating 166 million yuan ($21 million) in disaster aid to regions hit by Saomai and other recent weather disasters. Last week Typhoon Prapiroon battered Guangdong province and the Guangxi region on China's southern coast, killing at least 80 people.

Map of Area


Description: This Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) below was acquired over north Taiwan and southern China, where the Typhoon Saomai (lower right image) hit the coasts.

Technical Information: MERIS_RR_1P
Instrument: Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) 
Date of Acquisition: 10 August 2006 
Orbit: 23232
Instrument features: Reduced Resolution image (1200 - meter resolution)
Bands 11 (red), 14 (green) and 3 (blue), corresponding to visible light, were used to create this image.
Orbit Direction: Descending

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