Most Powerful Storm in Half Century Strikes Southeast China

The most powerful storm to hit China in 50 years Typhoon Saomai (“Morning Star” in Vietnamese) made landfall on August 10. It has killed at least 255 people in the southeastern provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi. The storm affected altogether 3.5 million Chinese and forced more than 1 million of them to be evacuated. With more than 50,000 houses destroyed, storm damage is estimated at $1.4 billion.

Saomai was the eighth typhoon to hit China this season, which has been marked by an unusual frequency of storms. Tropical storm Bilis killed more than 600 people in July and caused flooding and mudslides. About 80 people perished when typhoon Prapiroon struck earlier.

In late July Typhoon Kaemi prompted the evacuation of more than 643,000 people in a region still trying to recover from the impact of Bilis. Fujian, Shejiang, and Jiangsu provinces received heavy rain.

“Chinese Typhoon Toll Passes 250,” BBC News Online, 14 August 2006.
“China Army Helps Typhoon Clear-Up,” BBC News Online, 12 August 2006.
Jim Yardley, “Typhoon Drenches South China After 643,000 Are Evacuated,” New York Times, 26 July 2006.
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Source: Google Earth Blog,
[Storm satellite images are available at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Satellite and Information Service ( and others).]