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Home > Disaster Reports > Typhoons > Typhoon Maemi
 
 
Casualties: 130 (117 dead, 13 missing)
Property damage: 4,781 billion KRW
Disaster victims: 4,089 households (10,975 people)
Flood status: 421,015 houses and 37,986 ha of farmland
Other: 2,278 roads and bridges, 2,676 river points, and 27,547 hydraulic facilities lost or collapsed
Maemi, the 14th typhoon of the 2003 season, was Koreas strongest typhoon since meteorological recordkeeping began in 1904. Maemi made landfall on the coast near Sacheon in South Gyeongsang Province, and proceeded to Haman County, Daegu, Cheongsong County, and Uljin County, before dissipating in the East Sea. With a central atmospheric pressure of 950 hPa and maximum wind speed of 60.0 m/s (Jeju-do), it had the second lowest atmospheric pressure recorded among typhoons in Korea since Typhoon Sara (951.5hPa), and had the highest maximum wind speed ever recorded in Korea.
On September 4, 2003, a tropical depression formed at sea near Guam, slowly proceeding in a northwest direction, and about two days later, at around 3 p.m. on September 6, became the 14th typhoon of the season, named Maemi (meaning cicada). Due to the fact that Maemis initial development at its tropical depression stage was very slow, the Korea Metrological Administration initially predicted that slow development would continue. However, starting on September 9. it rapidly intensified near Okinawa, Japan, and grew into one of the strongest typhoons ever, recording central atmospheric pressure of 910 hPa and maximum wind speed of 55 m/s on September 10.

Two factors accounted for Maemis landing in Korea as a powerful typhoon: the abnormally high sea surface temperature surrounding the Korean peninsula at the time and the relatively fast movement of the typhoon. The sea surface temperature, which was 2-3 degrees higher than other years, provided conditions for the typhoon to maintain its strength, and the relatively rapid speed of the typhoons movement allowed the typhoon to reach the Korean peninsula before it weakened. Exceptionally low atmospheric pressures were measured in the areas where Maemi landed, including Yeosu, Tongyeong, and Masan. Among those locations, a mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) of 954.0 hPa was recorded in Tongyeong, which ranks as the second lowest recorded MLSP among all typhoons and the lowest ever among typhoons that made landfall.


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