Another Western Pacific Typhoon to watch

The Atlantic remains boring, although some got excited yesterday over a couple of yellow “X” marks on the NHC outlook, those who bother to read the actual bulletins (link to some thoughts on how to interpret the outlooks) understood they had “near zero” chance of forming. There is a strong system with good development potential later next week in the mid Atlantic, but more than likely that will, as have previous Atlantic storms this year, mostly be of interest to fish and fish related interests. There is a disturbance over Central America that has development potential as it moves in to the Eastern Pacific, but it does not yet warrant a tracking ID or much angst.

The tropical action remains in the West Pacific, and has hit China fairly hard. Typhoon Doksuri caused significant death and damage to the northern Philippines, then brushed Taiwan before making landfall in Fujian province on the mainland (link to South China Morning Post article. Flooding continues to be a concern as the remains of the typhoon move inland, economic impacts from the storm are estimated in the $8 Billion US Dollar range . Following on Doksuri’s heels is tropical storm Khanun. The economic impact forecasts yesterday were somewhat apocalyptic, with landfall as a Supertyphoon (Saffir Simpson Cat 3 or higher) south of Shanghai, bringing near 200kph winds across the city as well as the enormous port complexes on Hangzhou Bay. As of Saturday morning US East Coast time (6am ET, 1000Z), the Joint Typhoon Forecast Center track has shifted south and a much weaker storm, a minimal typhoon (120kph).

Still, on this track, Okinawa is expected to be hit with typhoon conditions (Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale), and economic impacts likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars across the southern islands of Japan, followed by a multi-billion dollar even across Zhejiang province, China.

Humanitarian aspects aside (not that you should ever do that, but sadly far to often people do), the East China Sea is a major trade route and typhoons have the potential for significant impacts on the global supply chain. Trillions of dollars of stuff flows from these ports from China out to the rest of the world – by some estimates upwards of 40% of world trade flows through the East and South China Seas. Given the fact China accounts for over 28% of global manufacturing, and has dominance is some key sectors, anything natural or anthropogenic (human caused) that disrupts trade in this vital region is of global concern.

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