Typhoon Chanchu (international designation: 0601, JTWC designation: 02W, also designated Typhoon Caloy by PAGASA) was the second tropical storm and first typhoon of the 2006 Pacific typhoon season recognized by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Chanchu was the first tropical storm of the season. Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) estimated that the maximum sustained wind speed near its centre reached 185 km/h, making it the most intense typhoon on HKO's record to enter the South China Sea in May. The name submitted by Macau means 'pearl'.
The disturbance that would become Chanchu formed on May 5, 2006. When it was declared a tropical depression on the 9th, Chanchu became the third tropical cyclone of the season. It strengthened into a typhoon and struck the Philippines twice, killing 41 people and causing $1.9 million (2006 USD) in agricultural damage. It made its third and final landfall near Shantou in eastern Guangdong province early on May 18, 2006 local time (late May 17 UTC) as an 85 mph (135 km/h) typhoon and subsequently moved northeast into coastal Fujian province. The maximum gust was 67.3 m/s. Total damage in Fujian is estimated at $480 million (2006 USD), and deaths there reached 15.
An area of disturbed weather formed north of Koror, Palau, around May 5 and moved west toward Asia. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center released a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert on May 8, shortly before it was upgraded to a tropical depression. At the 3 a.m. update on May 9, the JTWC upgraded the system to a tropical storm, which was soon named Chanchu by the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Chanchu was upgraded to typhoon intensity by the JTWC on May 10, just over a day before it made two landfalls in the Philippines, the first one in Northern Samar, and the second in Oriental Mindoro. After Chanchu exited the Philippines, the JMA upgraded it to a typhoon.
Chanchu at peak intensity
After weakening to typhoon status, Chanchu began to move northeast. Early on May 16, the tropical cyclone began to fuse with a frontal system extending all the way to Alaska, therefore beginning its extratropical transition. In the early hours of May 18, 2006, local time (late May 17, GMT), Chanchu struck land near Shantou, in eastern Guangdong province, China, with 85 mph (135 km/h) winds. It subsequently moved northeast into the coastal Fujian province. The JTWC declared that the storm had become completely extratropical shortly after it made its final landfall, but the JMA did not. According the JMA, the typhoon weakened to a 45 mph (74 km/h, 10-minute sustained) tropical storm and entered the East China Sea on May 18, and became fully extratropical early the following day.
Philippine provinces in which public storm signals were raised for preparations
At one point, Chanchu was forecast to become a Category 5 equivalent super typhoon and to make landfall near Hong Kong. In response to the threat, officials at the Hong Kong Observatory, as well as in Macau, issued a standby signal to inform the public of the approaching typhoon.
China mentioned the possibility of Guangdong being affected as early as May 11. As Chanchu started to move north, a severe typhoon warning was issued on May 15. This was the first severe typhoon warning since the introduction of an extended Beaufort scale and new typhoon classification for the country on the same day. It was upgraded to an urgent warning on May 16. This was also the first tropical cyclone urgent warning of the year. As Chanchu made landfall in Guangdong early on May 18 and weakened, the urgent warning was downgraded to a severe tropical storm warning, and later lifted. Over 620,000 people around southeastern China were evacuated on May 17 to avoid the effects of Chanchu.
The Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan issued a typhoon warning for the Bashi Channel and Taiwan Strait on May 15. The warning was expanded to include Kinmen, Penghu, and the sea north of Taiwan on early May 16.
Chanchu caused 41 deaths in the Philippines and $1.9 million in damage, much of it to agriculture. Twenty-one of the deaths were from a capsized motor boat, the Mae An, off Masbate Island on May 12. Luckily, the 18 other people on the boat were rescued. In the Bicol region, 300 families had their homes destroyed because of major flooding and high winds. And in six villages in Sogod, Southern Leyte, 1,000 people were cut off from the rest of the world because of a small landslide in the area. No casualties have been reported from it, though. A swollen river broke a dike early the next day, and submerged four villages under waist-deep water on Mindoro Island, while a ferry with more than 713 people aboard ran aground. In total, more than 600 homes were completely destroyed, while over 3,500 were partially damaged.
Though Chanchu did not impact Vietnam's coast, it sank eleven ships from the country, leaving 44 dead and at least 190 Vietnamese missing. The other seven ships in the area managed to stay afloat and get help. Around 330 fishermen had been rescued by Chinese sailors. Earlier, there were reports that 600 were rescued. Vietnamese president Trần Đức Lương expressed his thanks to Chinese government on May 22 for the rescuing of the Vietnamese in the wrecked ships. In Phu Yen province, 3 students were also missing, reportedly swept away while swimming at sea.
People's Republic of China
Flooding in Shantou
Chanchu caused at least 25 deaths in the People's Republic of China. In Shantou, there were landslides and houses collapsed, resulting in three deaths. 192 houses were flooded and water depth reached 1.6 meters (5.25 feet). A park was severely damaged and had to be closed for maintenance. In Fujian province, 15 people were killed by landslides and 4 were missing. Damage in the Fujian province was estimated at $480 million (2006 USD). In Shanghai, the speed limit of Dong Hai bridge was halved because of strong winds. The direct economic loss was estimated to be 7 billion Chinese yuan ($873 million 2006 USD).
There was minor damage in Hong Kong. Water level rose to 2.8 meters (9.2 feet) (above chart datum) due to storm surge, and small-scale flooding occurred in Sheung Wan. Some flights were canceled and some ferry routes were suspended. Because of poor sea conditions, a cruise ship with over 1000 passengers had to delay its return trip from Kaohsiung to Hong Kong.
Taiwan also experienced the deaths of two sisters swept away by flash floods underneath the Sandimen Bridge in the southern county of Pingtung on May 17. The island experienced heavy mountain rains and significant wind gusts in many western counties and cities. The Bolivian-registered oil tanker Lucky Star was grounded by strong waves on the beach in Kaohsiung City.
High waves in southern Japan swept away three 17-year-old male students who were swimming off Hateruma Island. It left one dead and another missing. The third person was rescued.
The name Chanchu was retired along with four other names at the 39th meeting of the ESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee in Manila in December 2006. In December 2007, the committee selected the name Sanba to replace Chanchu on the Western Pacific basin name lists beginning in 2008.
Editor for Asisbiz: Matthew Laird Acred
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