The 1912 China Typhoon devastated the coast of China on August 29, 1912. It formed in the Philippine Sea, before making its way to the China. The typhoon brought strong winds and substantial amounts of rain. Heavy flooding along rivers were reported in Zhejiang, resulting in 50,000–220,000 fatalities. It is one of the deadliest recorded typhoons in history.

1912 China typhoon
Meteorological history
FormedAugust 25, 1912 (1912-08-25)
DissipatedSeptember 1, 1912 (1912-10)
Lowest pressure946 hPa (mbar); 27.94 inHg
Overall effects
Areas affectedChina

Part of the 1912 Pacific typhoon season

Meteorological history edit

According to the Hong Kong Observatory, the storm began forming on August 13, and on August 25, became a typhoon. It formed in the Philippine Sea,[1] east of northern Luzon. There was a significant low-pressure area around the Philippines. The following day (August 26), pressure significantly decreased over the Loochoos (Ryukyu Islands), and slightly over northern Luzon, Formosa (Taiwan), and the southeastern coast of China. It traveled in a northwardly direction, and by 06:00 HKT, it was at ~20°N 125°E / 20°N 125°E / 20; 125. By 27 August at 06:00 HKT, its track curved westwards. Its reported location at 06:00 HKT was 26°N 122°E / 26°N 122°E / 26; 122. At this time, pressure readings at Formosa had decreased dramatically. A slight pressure decrease was reported over Annam, the Philippines, and northern China. A weak pressure decrease was reported over northeastern China. Observations on the Loochoos at 14:50 HKT indicated that the typhoon was traveling in a north–northeast direction. On the morning of August 28, it was reported to be 50 mi (80 km) southeast of Ishigaki, traveling in a northwest direction. The typhoon arrived over China on August 29, where it was described as "severe" at 06:00 HKT. At 14:00 HKO, it arrived over Sharp Peak, Hong Kong, and traveled westwards. The typhoon became a depression on August 31, between Pakhoi (Beihai) and Hong Kong; and on September 1, was over Hainan and Annam.[2][1] At its maximum, the typhoon had wind speeds of 115 mph (185 km/h), and lowest pressure was 946 mb.[3]

Impact edit

Deadliest Pacific typhoons
Rank Typhoon Season Fatalities Ref.
1 August 1931 China typhoon 1931 300,000 [4][5][6]
2 Nina 1975 229,000 [7]
3 July 1780 Typhoon 1780 100,000 [8]
4 July 1862 Typhoon 1862 80,000 [9]
5 "Shantou" 1922 60,000 [7]
6 "China" 1912 50,000 [7]
7 "Hong Kong" 1937 10,000 [7]
8 Joan 1964 7,000 [10]
9 Haiyan 2013 6,352 [11]
10 Vera 1959 >5,000 [7]
Main article: List of tropical cyclone records

The typhoon is one of the worst in history, resulting in at least 50,000 killed, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.[12] An estimated 100,000 families were affected.[13] Shen Bao, a major newspaper in Shanghai, placed the death toll at 220,000.[14] Some international newspapers reported 40,000 deaths.[15][16] High tide and torrential rain for 24 hours caused flooding in upper Wenzhou. Chaozhou prefecture was destroyed.[17] In Qingtian and nearby towns, the flood drowned 10,000 residents. An estimated 30,000–40,000 people died in Pingyang and Rui'an.[18]

Flooding of the Ou River affected the Wenzhou, Qingtian and Yunhe. Swelling of the river in the mountains caused large volumes of water to pour downwards. Large waves crashed into populated areas suddenly, resulting in extreme destruction. The North China Herald described the rapid-flowing water rising "four or five feet" in a few minutes. Survivors reported the destruction of one town, and all of its residents perished.[18]

Infrastructures in many areas of southern Zhejiang were badly damaged. Rain and communication networks were also destroyed, worsening the situation.[18] Fishermen rescuing their catch drowned when their boats capsized. Eight fishermen were believed to have perished when they were swept to sea but returned four days later. The wreckage of towns were mistaken for shipwrecks. Beaches were strewn with debris, where survivors began foraging items.[17]

Aftermath edit

A civilian-led rescue commenced immediately after the disaster. The cooperation of civilians and officials led to 150–200 lives saved. Recovery efforts were completed by the regional government—the central government did not provide significant assistance. Reconstruction was funded by the regional government and foreign aid arrived.[18]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Chin, P. C.; Starbuck, Leonard (1958), Tropical cyclones in the Western Pacific and China Sea area from 1884 to 1953 (Book), R.O.T.M., Royal Hong Kong Observatory, p. 29
  2. ^ Hong Kong Observatory (1913), Meteorological observations made at the Hong Kong Observatory in the year 1912 (PDF) (Report), Noronha & Co., pp. 240–247
  3. ^ "1912 Pacific Typhoon Season". Cyclone History. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  4. ^ "History's worst flood finally revealed".
  5. ^ Courtney, Chris (2018-02-15). The Nature of Disaster in China: The 1931 Yangzi River Flood. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781108284936.
  6. ^ "Flood Horror". Geraldton Guardian and Express. September 1931.
  7. ^ a b c d e "The Worst Natural Disasters by Death Toll" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  8. ^ Pedro Ribera, Ricardo Garcia-Herrera and Luis Gimeno (July 2008). "Historical Deadly Typhoons in the Philippines". Weather. 63 (7). Royal Meteorological Society: 196. doi:10.1002/wea.275.
  9. ^ Huang, G; Yim, Wyxx W-S. "Reconstruction of an 8,000-year record of Typhoons in the Pearl River Estuary, China" (PDF). HKU Scholars Hub.
  10. ^ Associated Press (November 16, 1964). "Another Typhoon Descends on Flood Stricken Vietnam". The Milwaukee Journal. p. 2. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  11. ^ SitRep No.108 re Effects of Typhoon YOLANDA (HAIYAN) (PDF) (Report). National Reduction Risk Reduction And Management Council. April 3, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  12. ^ "The Worst Natural Disasters by Death Toll" (PDF). 15 June 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2022. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Typhoon in China". The Colonist. Vol. 54, no. 13528. 23 September 1912.
  14. ^ "Shenbao". 20 September 1912.
  15. ^ "40,000 killed by typhoon: Chinese Province is desolated by a great storm". The Enterprise (Williamston, N.C.). 13 September 1912.
  16. ^ "40,000 are drowned by typhoon in China". Chicago Examiner. 10 September 1912.
  17. ^ a b "The Recent Typhoon". The Straits Times. 20 September 1912. p. 3.
  18. ^ a b c d Ankers, Alexander. "Zhejiang flood, 1912". Disaster History. Retrieved 21 August 2022.