Tropical Storm In-fa putting millions at risk in eastern China

·4 min read

Tropical Storm In-fa could be seen bringing major impacts across east-central China, including Shanghai, early this week.

At around 12:30 p.m. local time on Sunday, In-fa officially made landfall in the coastal area of Zhoushan City, which is located in China's Zhejiang province. At landfall, In-fa's strength was the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale in the Atlantic or East Pacific basins.

Satellite image of In-fa as the storm made landfall Sunday night, local time, July 25, 2021. (AccuWeather Enhanced RealVue™ Satellite)

Over 25 million people reside in the Shanghai metropolitan area, all of which (and more outside of the city) are feeling or will feel the impacts of this expansive storm. The risk for flooding rainfall, destructive storm surge and damaging wind gusts will likely last until midweek as the storm slows to a crawl.

As the center of the storm affects the cities of Zhoushan and Ningbo, a persistent onshore wind will send water surging up the Hangzhou Bay, Yangtze River and other coastal areas in between. The onshore push of water combined with persistent swirling rain bands will continue to create some major flooding issues for most coastal towns in the storm's path.

Due to the slow-moving nature of the storm, rainfall totals from In-fa could become extreme. A swath of 1 to 2 feet (300 to 600 cm) of rain with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 4 feet (1,200 cm) is expected across the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu. Rainfall of this nature can produce life-threatening flooding, mudslides and an array of other issues.


At least one location in Zhoushan City, where In-fa made landfall, picked up 24.1 inches (612 mm) of rain from Sunday into Monday. Since Friday, when the outer rain bands of In-fa began to push into the region, parts of the city have picked up at least 30 inches (764 mm) of rain.

This amount of rainfall and anticipated flooding can be catastrophic to the region, but impacts from In-fa might be felt globally as port operations in Shanghai and Ningbo grind to a halt.

According to Lloyd's List, container pickups and deliveries have been suspended in the Shanghai and Ningbo ports in preparation for In-fa's arrival.

Additionally, all passenger flights coming in and out of the Shanghai Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport on Sunday were canceled as a result of the storm, according to China Daily. Additional delays and cancellations are likely on Monday as inclement weather persists.

In-fa has already produced wind gusts in excess of 58 mph (93 km/h) in the city of Shanghai.

As the storm slowly moves inland through early week, wind intensity will continue to be lost due to the interaction with land.

By Monday morning, the storm had lost wind intensity and had stepped down in designation from a typhoon to a severe tropical storm. By Monday evening, the storm was designated as a tropical storm.

Due to catastrophic impacts expected from torrential rainfall, strong winds and rough seas which can have drastic economic impacts, In-fa has been rated as a 5 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes.

The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes is a 6-point scale with ratings of less than one and 1 to 5 and is based on a broad range of important factors in contrast to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which classifies storms by wind speed only.

In order to better communicate a more comprehensive representation of the potential impact of a storm to lives and livelihoods, the scale covers not only wind speed, but also flooding rain, storm surge and economic damage and loss.

This satellite image, captured around midday, local time, on Monday, July 26, 2021, shows In-fa over eastern China. (RAMMB/CIRA)

As In-fa spins along the eastern coast of China over the next few days, an area of sinking air will develop farther inland to balance out the rising air associated with the storm. This sinking air will help to bring drier conditions to Henan province, which was doused with historic rainfall last week.

The West Pacific will remain active beyond In-fa. AccuWeather forecasters are also closely monitoring Tropical Storm Nepartak, which is forecast to track toward Japan early this week and may cause disruptions to the Tokyo Olympics. Enhanced rainfall will likely occur across northern Japan. There could even be additional tropical development later this week or upcoming weekend to the south of Japan.

Keep checking back on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier, Spectrum, FuboTV, Philo, and Verizon Fios.

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