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200807W (FENGSHEN) - Profile

(First issued on July 2nd, 2008; final version issued on July 24th, 2008)

Brief profile of FENGSHEN:

JTWC number 07W
International number 0806
Period of existence 18 June, 2008 20 HKT to 25 June, 2008 20 HKT
Lifetime 7.0 days
Maximum 1-minute wind (JTWC) 110 knots (95 knots in live warnings)*
Minimum pressure (JTWC) 941 hPa (952 hPa in live warnings)*
Highest TC signal by HKO (if applicable) 8 (Gale or Storm Signal, directions: NE, NW, SW in order)
Closest point of approach by HKO (if applicable) E 25km (real-time warning and TC report)**
Time of closest approach by HKO (if applicable) 25 June, 2008 04 HKT (real-time warning and TC report)
Lowest pressure recorded at HKO (if applicable) 991.3 hPa (25 June, 2008 03:23 HKT)

* The maximum intensity was shown as 95 knots in real-time warnings, but in JTWC's JMV Data the intensity at 08 HKT on June 21st was revised upward to 110 knots.
** The reported distance in real-time warning is 15 km. However, computation shows that given the storm's position at 22.3N 114.4E, it is more likely that the distance is 25 km. It is therefore assumed that a mistake was made when the real-time warning was issued.

TC signals for Hong Kong & Track:


Date and time
Distance from HK
Predicted movement
Max. 10-min winds
2008/06/23 (MON) 07:40 HKT
SSE 700 km
NW/NNW at 14 km/h
121 km/h (65 knots, Cat. 1)
2008/06/24 (TUE) 16:40 HKT
SSE 200 km
N/NNW at 16 km/h
103 km/h (55 knots, STS)
2008/06/24 (TUE) 22:45 HKT
SSE 100 km
N/NNW at 16 km/h
92 km/h (50 knots, STS)
2008/06/25 (WED) 00:45 HKT
SE 60 km
N/NNW at 14 km/h
92 km/h (50 knots, STS)
2008/06/25 (WED) 05:45 HKT
NE 40 km
N/NNW at 14 km/h
92 km/h (50 knots, STS)
2008/06/25 (WED) 11:15 HKT
N 90 km
N/NNW at 14 km/h
83 km/h (45 knots, TS)
2008/06/25 (WED) 22:15 HKT
N 130 km
N/NNE at 10 km/h
65 km/h (35 knots, TS)

Figure: (Track courtesy of Lorenzo. Data from HKO.)

TC Track

IR imagery animation 紅外線雲圖動畫:

TC track from HKWW:

TC Track

TC tracks from HKO:

TC Track

TC Track

Past HKWW Bulletins on FENGSHEN

Please click here for bulletins on FENGSHEN.

Storm Formation

FENGSHEN was one of the storms that most major models failed to predict its general movement, with an error of almost 15 degrees longitude.

A tropical disturbance (94W) persisted in the seas SE of the Philippines on June 15th. Subject to warm sea surface temperatures and low vertical wind shear, this disturbance started to exhibit cyclonic motion and was upgraded to a tropical depression by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) at 20 HKT on June 18th, which was given the JTWC number 07W. At the same time, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued a gale warning for this system, suggesting intensification to tropical storm status in 24 hours. At that time, almost all agencies and numerical models predicted a weakening in the steering subtropical ridge to the north of FENGSHEN; together with the extension of the eastern ridge (near-equatorial ridge), FENGSHEN was forecast to recurve before touching any part of the Philippines (figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1a to c - Initlal forecast track of FENGSHEN by the HKO, JMA and JTWC

Figures 2 and 3 - CIMSS steering chart at 06 UTC (14 HKT), June 18th 2008; Visible imagery of FENGSHEN at 06:57 UTC (14:57 HKT) the same day

Storm Development and Conditions in the Philippines

Steered by the subtropical ridge anchored to the east of Taiwan, FENGSHEN moved west to west-northwest towards central Philippines. The JMA officially named it FENGSHEN early on June 19th, and upgraded it to severe tropical storm (STS) status in its 20 HKT bulletin on the same day. Although the steering ridge was weakening (figure 4), it did not weaken at the rate expected and this contributed to its rapid westward movement. Meanwhile, a cold-core low situated near 20N 145E was at that time slowing down the extension of the near-equatorial ridge, which was not anticipated in (numerical) model runs.

Figure 4 - CIMSS steering chart at 06 UTC (14 HKT), June 19th 2008

As FENGSHEN tracked along regions with favorable conditions, it intensified and both the JMA and JTWC upgraded FENGSHEN into a typhoon at 02 HKT on June 20th. It made its first landfall near Borongan City at the eastern edge of Philippines at 12 HKT the same day as a 70-knot (category 1) typhoon. At this time, major agencies predicted that a NW turn was about to begin and that the storm would travel through the Bicol region, but again FENGSHEN behaved beyond expectation to reach Sibuyan Island near 14 HKT on June 21st, where its intensity peaked at 110 knots (1-minute average) (figure 6). Near that time, ferry "Princess of the Stars" was capsized due to the adverse weather conditions brought by FENGSHEN, and more than 700 passengers on the ship went missing. The number of fatalities caused by this single incident (the most serious maritime disaster in 21 years) was believed to outweigh the total casualties in the whole 2007 Pacific typhoon season.

It was at this point that FENGSHEN started to turn north-northwestward in the direction of Mindoro Province, but before reaching the Island FENGSHEN turned northward to hit Metro Manila as a response to the weakening subtropical ridge. The eye of FENGSHEN traversed Metro Manila near 05 HKT on June 22nd and after that the storm travelled NW across western Luzon (figure 5).

Figures 5 and 6 - Path of Typhoon FENGSHEN ("Frank" assigned by the PAGASA) in the Philippines; FENGSHEN at maximum intensity (JTWC: 110 knots)

Reorganization in the South China Sea and Preparations in Hong Kong

The relatively flat islands in central Philippines did not cause significant damage to FENGSHEN's structure, and the surrounding warm water has even allowed FENGSHEN to strengthen before its NW motion started. However, as FENGSHEN moved NW across western Luzon, the higher mountains there severely damaged its vertical structure and a secondary centre was formed much west to the Philippines (figure 7), with convections forming in eastern South China Sea. A major relocation of 1 to 1.5 degrees longitude to the west was made by all agencies during the night of June 22nd. This destruction in the vertical structure, together with the inability to consolidate convections due to the strong easterly wind shear, made weakening inevitable and with the exception of the Hong Kong Obesrvatory (HKO), nearly all agencies downgraded FENGSHEN into a severe tropical storm (or its equivalent).

Figures 7 and 8 - Visible imagery of FENGSHEN at 06:57 UTC (14:57 HKT), June 23rd 2008, CIMSS steering chart at 06 UTC (14 HKT) the same day

Alerted by the approaching FENGSHEN, in the evening of June 22nd the HKO hinted a possibility of the Standby Signal Number 1 the day after (June 23rd) [link in Chinese] via the media. As FENGSHEN came within 800 kilometres of Hong Kong early June 23rd, the Observatory issued the Standby Signal at 07:40 HKT. Suffering from its subsidence and together with the fine weather brought by the aforementioned weakening subtropical ridge, Hong Kong experienced very hot weather from June 21st to 23rd, necessitating the first Very Hot Weather Warning Signal of the year.

At this time, the northern subtropical ridge has weakened so much that it could not be seen as a separate system (figure 8), and with the expectation that this trend would continue most agencies, except the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), forecast an acute recurvature before reaching 300 km from Hong Kong (figure 9). However as time passed by, the storm maintained its NNW movement despite the near-equatorial ridge has extended westward. Agencies amended their tracks to the west bulletin by bulletin and eventually predicted a landfall close to Hong Kong. Shear continued to be the limiting factor of FENGSHEN's intensity (figure 10), and from satellite imageries it could be easily seen that once formed, convections were sheared to the west of the storm. FENGSHEN shrinked on June 23rd in order to maintain its current intensity, which later led to fine weather even though the storm was no more than 200 kilometres from Hong Kong. The HKO also downgraded FENGSHEN into a STS at 21 HKT on that day.

Figures 9 and 10 - Tracks of FENGSHEN by different agencies; CIMSS wind shear chart at 06 UTC (14 HKT), June 23rd 2008

FENGSHEN in the Vicinity of Hong Kong

FENGSHEN came within 400 km of Hong Kong early on June 24th. Due to the small size of FENGSHEN, Hong Kong experienced sunny intervals during the day with virtually no rainfall. As FENGSHEN was heading straight towards Hong Kong, the Observatory issued the Strong Wind Signal Number 3 at 16:40 HKT when FENGSHEN was situated 200 km south-southeast of Hong Kong. In the same bulletin, the Observatory mentioned that the possibility of a higher signal "cannot be ruled out". Starting from that evening, winds from the northeast started to pick up in various part of the territory, with 10-minute average wind speed reaching gale force (63 km/h) soon after sunset at Waglan Island. Ngong Ping 360, which was only opened for half a day recovering from the damage brought by the intense rainfall earlier that month (June 2008), announced a temporary suspension as strong winds (above 41 km/h) started to blow at Ngong Ping.

The Observatory issued the Pre - No. 8 Special Announcement at 20:50 HKT on June 24th, indicating issuance of the Number 8 Gale or Storm Signal before 23 HKT the same day. Ferry services across Hong Kong were suspended and the last TurboJET vessel between Hong Kong and Macau departed at 22:30 HKT. As the Number 8 Northeast Gale or Storm Signal was issued at 22:45 HKT, the Education Bureau announced that all night schools and day schools on the following day would have their classes suspended. Both the issuance of the Number 3 and 8 Signals were thought to be precautionary in this case as winds within the territory generally did not reach the respective threshold at the time of issue; this could in turn be attributed to FENGSHEN's small size and that its major cloud (and rain) bands were located in its southwestern quadrant (figures 11 and 12) - situation could get worse very dramatically and precautionary signals were indeed necessary.

Figures 11a and 11b - 256-km RADAR images of FENGSHEN at a) 18 HKT June 24th; b) 00 HKT June 25th

Since FENGSHEN was approaching from the southeast, wind direction turned anticlockwise from the northeast and the HKO promptly replaced the Northeast Gale or Storm Signal with the Northwest one at 00:45 HKT on June 25th. Most places experienced strengthening wind speeds since midnight, and gales were recorded at places like Chek Lap Kok, Cheung Chau, Lau Fau Shan, Peng Chau and Sha Chau^. Possibly due to the mountains in Hong Kong which partially blocked the passage of the lower parts of FENGSHEN, the low-level circulation centre (LLCC) of the storm skipped past Hong Kong waters (figure 12). FENGSHEN was closest to Hong Kong at 04 HKT on June 25th when it was only 15 km east of the Observatory. The storm then travelled across Mirs Bay (大鵬灣), before making its final landfall at Kuichong Subdistrict of Shenzhen (深圳市葵涌街道) between 06 and 07 HKT (figure 13). As wind direction continued to turn anticlockwise, the Observatory issued the Number 8 Southwest Gale or Storm Signal at 05:45 HKT, replacing the Northwest Signal. Places previously sheltered from northwesterly winds experienced a sudden surge in wind speed, including Waglan Island, Stanley, Shatin and Ngong Ping^. Situated at high altitude, Ngong Ping recorded a 10-minute sustained wind in excess of 140 km/h from the southwest at 06:30 HKT (figure 17).

Figures 12a to 12c - 64-km RADAR images of FENGSHEN at a) 01 HKT June 25th; b) 04 HKT; c) 07 HKT on the same day

The rainbands associated with FENGSHEN also started to affect the territory after its closest point of approach. Widespread rain started in the territory near 04 to 05 HKT (figure 12), and soon at 05:15 HKT the Observatory issued the amber rainstorm warning signal which was upgraded to red at 06 HKT. The Special Announcement on Flooding in the Northern New Territories and the thunderstorm warning were issued after 6 a.m., and together with the landslip warning issued at 08:10 HKT Hong Kong once again experienced 5 weather warning signals at the same time (which happened during the approach of NEOGURI).

Figure 13 - Track of FENGSHEN near Hong Kong, as per the tropical cyclone bulletins issued by the HKO

Figures 14a to 14d - Wind speeds and directions in Hong Kong at a) 20 HKT June 24th; b) 00 HKT June 25th; c) 04 HKT; d) 08 HKT on the same day

Figure 15 - Visible imagery of FENGSHEN at 00:30 UTC (08:30 HKT), June 25th 2008

Figure 16 - Pressure recorded at HKO between June 25th 00:40 HKT to June 26th 00:40 HKT

Figure 17 - Wind speed at Ngong Ping between June 25th 00:40 HKT to June 26th 00:40 HKT

Weakening Trend and Effects on Hong Kong

FENGSHEN lingered near 100 north of Hong Kong, weakening signficantly due to the lack of moisture. The Observatory downgraded FENGSHEN into a tropical storm at 10 HKT and as winds gradually subsided, the Observatory replaced the No. 8 Signal with the Strong Wind Signal at 11:15 HKT. Occasional heavy rain continued to affect the territory on June 25th, and as FENGSHEN continued to weaken the HKO cancelled all tropical cyclone warning signals at 22:15 HKT. FENGSHEN was downgraded to tropical depression at 02 HKT on June 26th and it dissipated at 08 HKT.

The southwesterly airstream enhanced by FENGSHEN contributed to continued rainfall during the rest of June, and this storm evidently played a part in contributing to the record-breaking monthly rainfall for June 2008 at 1,346.1 mm.

It is worth noting that FENGSHEN made the closest point of approach to the Observatory since tropical storm KOMPASU in 2004. KOMPASU was closest to Hong Kong near 15 HKT on July 16th, when it was centred at Sai Kung (25 km E of HKO).

Charts and Figures

Table 1: Track data from HKWW:

YYMMDDZZ Lat Long Wind
08061812 093N1324E 030
08061818 099N1316E 035
08061900 098N1308E 045
08061906 100N1300E 045
08061912 100N1291E 055
08061918 107N1276E 065
08062000 111N1265E 070
08062006 115N1254E 080
08062012 120N1241E 080
08062018 116N1234E 090
08062100 118N1227E 110*
08062106 123N1223E 095
08062112 128N1218E 080
08062118 139N1215E 080
08062200 147N1209E 070
08062206 154N1205E 065
08062212 161N1193E 065
08062218 163N1183E 065
08062300 171N1177E 055
08062306 175N1170E 055
08062312 179N1165E 055
08062318 185N1162E 055
08062400 196N1158E 060
08062406 203N1155E 060
08062412 212N1149E 060
08062418 220N1145E 055
08062421 225N1144E 055
08062500 227N1141E 055
08062503 231N1140E 050
08062506 232N1138E 045
08062509 232N1137E 040
08062512 233N1139E 040
08062515 237N1140E 035
08062518 240N1141E 030
08062521 244N1141E 025

*intensity revised
upward from 095 knots

Table 2: Maximum gust and 60-minute average wind speed recorded in Hong Kong from HKO (see also here):

Maximum Gust
Maximum Hourly Wind
Station Direction Speed (km/h) Date/Month Time Direction Speed (km/h) Date/Month Time
Bluff Head (Stanley) SW 113 25/6 05:43 WSW 72 25/6 07:00
Central Pier W 68 25/6 03:57 W 45 25/6 04:00
  WSW 68 25/6 18:09        
Chek Lap Kok SW 85 25/6 07:13 SW 59 25/6 08:00
Cheung Chau WSW 108 25/6 06:11 WSW 70 25/6 07:00
Cheung Sha Wan  WSW 76 25/6 06:50 WSW 38 25/6 07:00
Kai Tak SSW 104 25/6 06:19 SW 54 25/6 07:00
King's Park  SW 96 25/6 06:40 SW 31 25/6 07:00
Lau Fau Shan WNW 88 25/6 05:22 WSW 65 25/6 08:00
  WNW 88 25/6 05:29        
Ngong Ping WSW 189  25/6 06:54 W 140 25/6 08:00
North Point W 83 25/6 06:17 W 45 25/6 07:00
Peng chau NW 87  25/6 02:48 NW 59 25/6 04:00
Ping Chau NE 63  25/6 02:39 SW 25 25/6 07:00
Sai Kung  NNE 87 24/6 22:09 NE 47 24/6 21:00
Sha Chau NNW 99  25/6 03:08 NNW 59 25/6 03:00
Sha Lo Wan SW 96 25/6 06:29 SW 49 25/6 08:00
Sha Tin N 72 25/6 00:45 SW 31 25/6 07:00
Shek Kong ENE 51 24/6 19:14 ENE 25 24/6 20:00
Star Ferry (Kowloon) W 99 25/6 12:43 WSW 51 25/6 07:00
Ta Kwu Ling  NNE 59 25/6 01:30 N 23 25/6 01:00
Tai Mo Shan SW 122 25/6 07:49 SW 85 25/6 09:00
  SW 122 25/6 07:50        
Tate's Cairn  SW 130 25/6 06:34 N 76 25/6 01:00
Tsak Yue Wu NNE 92 25/6 01:29 NNE 30 25/6 02:00
Tseung Kwan O SW 70 25/6 06:31 NE 23 24/6 21:00

Tsing Yi Shell Oil Depot

- 81 25/6 06:19 - 45 25/6 07:00
Tuen Mun  SW 88 25/6 08:09 SW 30 25/6 09:00
Waglan Island WSW 122 25/6 05:49 WSW 99 25/6 07:00
  WSW 122 25/6 05:54        
Wetland Park NNW 58  25/6 03:00 NNW 30 25/6 03:00
Wong Chuk Hang WSW 77 25/6 06:29 WNW 31 25/6 07:00

Table 3: Rainfall contributed by FENGSHEN from HKO (figures in brackets are based on incomplete hourly data):

Station 23-Jun 24-Jun 25-Jun 26-Jun Total
Hong Kong  Observatory 0.0 0.6 146.1 100.4 247.1
Chek Lap Kok (HKA)  0.0 Trace 286.7 35.2 321.9
Cheung Chau (CCH)  0.0 0.0 158.5 85.0 243.5
H12 Mid Levels [0.0] [0.5] [148.0] [98.5] [247.0]
H19 Shau Kei Wan 0.0 4.5 176.0 91.5 272.0
H21 Repulse Bay 0.0 3.0 143.5 64.5 211.0
K04 Jordan Valley [0.0] [0.5] [128.0] [89.0] [217.5]
K06 So Uk Estate [0.0] [1.0] [188.5] [132.5] [322.0]
N05 Fanling [0.0] 0.0 154.5 49.5 [204.0]
N06 Kwai Chung 0.0 0.0 195.0 78.0 273.0
N09 Sha Tin [0.0] [0.0] [150.5] 81.0 [231.5]
N12 Yuen Long 0.0 0.0 213.5 41.0 254.5
N13 High Island 0.0 5.0 89.5 85.5 180.0
N17 Tung Chung 0.0 0.0 298.0 101.5 399.5
R21 Tap Shek Kok 0.0 0.0 192.0 32.5 224.5
R26 Shek Kong 0.0 0.0 176.5 40.0 216.5
R31 Tai Mei Tuk 0.0 0.0 105.0 41.0 146.0

Last Accessed: Fri Jan 18 2019 13:11:37 HKT
Last Modified: Sun Oct 02 2016

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