17. Typhoon MEARI (Quinta/25w)                    Print this Article
>> September 20-October 01, 2004

Meari: contributed by DPR (North) Korea, means 'echo.'

Storm Origins

At 1030 UTC 18 September an area of convection had persisted approximately 510 nm east of Guam and was initially mentioned in a STWO issued by JTWC at this time. Initially a 'poor' development potential area, the rather disorganized system began to evolve with deep convection consolidating over a possible LLCC. However, 'poor' potential was maintained until 19/1300 UTC, when it was raised to 'fair'. A TCFA followed at 19/2000 UTC, and this was replaced by the first warning at 20/0000 UTC. Tropical Depression 25W at this time was located just 35 nm southeast of Guam. At the same time, JMA also began writing bulletins, classifying the system as a 30-kt (10-min avg) tropical depression. There was little change in intensity during the 20th as dry air entrainment inhibited further development and the MSW remained at 30 kts. Tropical Depression 25W turned more westward and began to accelerate as it travelled along the southern periphery of a mid-level steering ridge.

Synoptic History

At 0000 UTC 21 September both JTWC and JMA upgraded Tropical Depression 25W to a tropical storm, the latter agency assigning the name Meari. At this time it was moving away from Guam, centred at that time 180 nm to the west. Continuing west-northwest, Meari turned towards the northwest as it intensified steadily. A 37-GHz microwave image at 21/1200 UTC showed early indications of a banding- type eye, and the MSW climbed to 55 kts at 21/1800 UTC. At 22/0000 UTC Meari was still heading in a northwesterly direction at around 7 kts and was located approximately 320 nm west-northwest of Guam. The system was upgraded to typhoon intensity at 22/1200 UTC after CI estimates had reached 65 kts. Typhoon Meari possessed a very asymmetric circulation. For example, the 22/1800 UTC JTWC warning (#12) reported gales extending up to 50 nm in the southern semicircle but to a distance of 150 nm in the northeast quadrant. Typhoon-force winds covered an area 20 nm over the northern semicircle but only 5 nm to the south.

Typhoon Meari began to intensify more rapidly on the 23rd. The storm was still tracking towards the northwest and was centred approximately 475 nm south-southwest of Iwo Jima at 0000 UTC 23 September. The MSW had increased to 75 kts at this time, and rose to 90 kts six hours later when multi-spectral satellite imagery depicted a well-developed eye. Meari became a strong 100-kt typhoon at 23/1200 UTC as it approached the eastern boundary of PAGASA's area of responsibility. The storm then changed onto a brief west-northwesterly heading as it crossed 135 degrees longitude and was then assigned the name Quinta by PAGASA. After reaching 120 kts at 24/0600 UTC, intensification slowed and this strength was maintained for the rest of the day. Meari was still suffering from the effects of dry air entrainment, and as a result, deep convection had decreased in the northwest quadrant by 24/1800 UTC. The MSW began to nudge downward through the day, during which time the storm continued on a general northwesterly track, passing 70 nm south of Okinawa at 25/1800 UTC. Meari weakened to 90 kts at 26/0000 UTC as the storm turned west-northwestward and decelerated. The storm then began to re-intensify in a more favourable environment, reaching a secondary peak of 105 kts at 26/1800 UTC.

Typhoon Meari ground to a halt at 0000 UTC 27 September while located approximately 170 nm west of Okinawa as it became temporarily stuck between two HIGHs. A shortwave trough moving eastward through China was forecast to pick up the tropical cyclone and recurve it towards Japan. A slow northward drift began at 27/0600 UTC and this motion essentially carried the system into more hostile conditions to the north. As a result, weakening began and the MSW dropped to 90 kts by 27/1200 UTC. Meari's deep convection decreased as the storm turned northeast into an area of strong upper-level shearing associated with the subtropical jet to the north. By 28/0000 UTC the intensity was down to 75 kts when the typhoon was located 315 nm south-southwest of Sasebo, Japan. But Meari managed to maintain this strength and even appeared to get itself together a little at 28/0600 UTC when convection began to increase. By 28/1800 UTC Meari was beginning its approach to the Japanese island of Kyushu.

Multi-spectral satellite imagery and radar fixes indicated that Typhoon Meari made landfall over the southern tip of Kyushu at 0000 UTC 29 August with a MSW of 70 kts. At this time, the centre of the storm, having turned towards the east-northeast, was located 85 nm south-southeast of Sasebo, Japan. Meari proceeded to weaken as it tracked across land and was downgraded to a 60-kt tropical storm at 29/0600 UTC, based on CI estimates and synoptic observations from Shikoku. The forward motion began to accelerate as Meari started to interact with the westerlies, and the combination of dry air entrainment and vertical wind shear sapped the tropical cyclone's strength further. The MSW dropped to 35 kts at 29/1800 UTC, the time of the final warning issued by JTWC. JMA followed the system until 30/0300 UTC, when it was dropped as a tropical cyclone, but continued tracking the remnant LOW eastwards into the Pacific via their routine shipping bulletins.

Damages and Casualties

News reports indicate that at least 18 people died with several more reported missing as a result of Typhoon Meari. The worst affected areas appeared to be the prefectures of Mie and Ehime where torrential rains caused widespread flooding and mudslides destroyed several homes. More than 350 flights were cancelled. Also, train and ferry services were suspended, stranding thousands of people.

Huang Chunliang Report

Following is the report received from Huang Chunliang of meteoro- logical observations from various Japanese stations in association with Typhoon Meari. A special thanks to Chunliang for sending the data. (To convert metres/sec (m/s) to knots, divide m/s by 0.51444. For an approximation, simply double the m/s value.)

{Part I}. Landfall Obs (based on the JMA warnings)

1. Typhoon 0421 (MEARI) made landfall near Kushikino City, 
   Kagoshima Prefecture around 28/2330 UTC with a MSW of 
   30 m/s and a CP of 970 hPa.

2. Typhoon 0421 (MEARI) made landfall near Sukumo City, 
   Kochi Prefecture around 29/0600 UTC with a MSW of 30 
   m/s and a CP of 980 hPa.

3. Typhoon 0421 (MEARI) made landfall near Osaka City 
   around 29/1130 UTC with a MSW of 30 m/s and a CP 
   of 985 hPa.

{Part II}. Top-5 Storm Total [24/1500-30/1500Z] Obs

Ranking  Prefecture    Station        Rainfall (mm)
01       Mie           Owase             904
02       Nara          Mt.Hidegatake     785
03       Mie           Kayumi            601
04       Nara          Kamikitayama      499
05       Kochi         Hongawa           464

{Part III}. Top-5 Daily Rainfall Obs

Ranking   Prefecture     Station           Rainfall (mm)
01        Mie            Owase             741 [28/1500-29/1500Z]
02        Nara           Mt.Hidegatake     583 [28/1500-29/1500Z]
03        Mie            Kayumi           *498 [28/1500-29/1500Z]
04        Mie            Tsu              *427 [28/1500-29/1500Z]
05        Mie            Mihama            393 [28/1500-29/1500Z]

{Part IV}. Top-5 1-hr Rainfall Obs

Ranking    Prefecture     Station           Rainfall (mm)
01         Mie            Miyagawa        #*139 [28/2340-29/0040Z]
02         Mie            Owase             133 [28/2150-28/2250Z]
03         Nara           Mt.Hidegatake    *109 [28/2320-29/0020Z]
04         Mie            Mihama            107 [28/2220-28/2320Z]
05         Hyogo          Gunge            *104 [29/0920-29/1020Z]
05         Oita           Kunimi           *104 [29/0020-29/0120Z]

{Part V}. Top-5 Peak Sustained Wind (10-min avg) Obs

Ranking  Station                                     Peak wind (mps)
01       Kagoshima, Kagoshima (WMO47827, Alt 4m)     31.5 [28/2220Z]
02       Makurazaki, Kagoshima (WMO47831, Alt 30m)   31.4 [28/2150Z]
03       Aburatsu, Miyazaki (WMO47835, Alt 3m)       28.2 [29/0040Z]
04       Tomogashima, Wakayama (JMA65036, Alt 43m)   25   [29/1030Z]
05       Omura, Nagasaki (JMA84371, Alt 3m)          24   [29/0040Z]

{Part VI}. Top-5 Peak Gust Obs

Ranking  Station                                     Peak wind (mps)
01       Kagoshima, Kagoshima (WMO47827, Alt 4m)     52.7 [28/2213Z]
02       Makurazaki, Kagoshima (WMO47831, Alt 30m)   51.4 [28/2108Z]
03       Aburatsu, Miyazaki (WMO47835, Alt 3m)       43.1 [29/0038Z]
04       Unzendake, Nagasaki (WMO47818, Alt 678m)    42.0 [29/0221Z]
05       Akune, Kagoshima (WMO47823, Alt 40m)        40.1 [29/0002Z]

{Part VII}. Top-5 SLP Obs

Ranking  Station                            Min SLP (hPa)
01       Kagoshima, Kagoshima (WMO47827)    975.5 [28/2314Z]
02       Makurazaki, Kagoshima (WMO47831)   976.9 [28/2244Z]
03       Nobeoka, Miyazaki (WMO47822)       980.1 [29/0320Z]
04       Miyakonojo, Miyazaki (WMO47829)    980.9 [29/0059Z]
04       Miyazaki, Miyazaki (WMO47830)      980.9 [29/0155Z]

{Part VIII} Tornado Obs

Place                                 Category   Time (approx.)
Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture         F1         27/1130Z
Nakijin Village, Okinawa Prefecture   F1         27/1150Z
Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture      F1         29/1400Z

{Part IX} References (Japanese versions only)

Note 1: "*" = record-breaking values for relevant stations.

Note 2: "#" = peak value as of 29/0100Z. (Power was cut off in that
        station after 29/0100Z.)

(Report written by Kevin Boyle except "Huang Chunliang Reports" by Huang Chunliang)

Source: Gary Padgett's Monthly Tropical Cyclone Summary - September 2004

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