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Massive Typhoon Tembin Snapped from Space

Typhoon Tembin satellite image.
Typhoon Tembin, snapped by satellite on Aug. 20. (Image credit: NASA.)

A huge and powerful typhoon is churning toward China, putting the storm-weary nation on alert. Typhoon Tembin is the fifth massive storm to hit the region in three weeks, and residents are bracing for yet more drenching rains and high winds as the typhoon approaches.

The storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) with gusts up to 144 mph (230 kph), according to the latest forecast from the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, making it the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane. (Typhoons are the same phenomenon as tropical storms and hurricanes, all collectively known as tropical cyclones.)

Storm in context: A larger image shows the island of Taiwan in the upper left-hand corner. The storm now lies directly east of the island and will likely make landfall in the coming day. (Image credit: NASA.)

The latest outlook has the storm poised to sweep across Taiwan and continue on toward the mainland, curving south toward Hong Kong in the coming days.

A satellite image snapped yesterday (Aug. 20) shows the storm hovering near the Philippines. Although the storm didn't make landfall, it did trigger damaging landslides and floods in the island nation.

The storm has since moved northward toward Taiwan, putting the island directly in its path.

Since the start of August, four typhoons have made landfall in China. Tembin is following  Typhoons Saola and Damrey, which hammered the region one after the other in the first week of August. Typhoon Haikui hit just a few days later, followed by Typhoon Kai-tak.

Typhoon Tembin is the 14th named storm of the 2012 Pacific typhoon season.

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Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.