On July 11, 2014 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over Tropical Storm Nine (09W) and captured a true-color image of the formation of a killer storm.
In this image, the nascent super typhoon was assuming the apostrophe shape of a strengthening storm, with strong thunderstorms concentrated around a cloud-filled and indistinct center. At 1200 UTC (8 a.m. EDT/10 p.m. CHST-Guam local time) – 3 hours and 45 hours before this image was captured - Tropical Storm 09W's maximum sustained winds were reported near 40 mph (64 km/h). The system’s center passed just north of Guam as a tropical depression, sparing the island any serious damage.
After leaving Guam, the storm began to strengthen as it took aim on the Philippines and China. Just before making landfall in the Philippines on July 15, the wind speed was reported at 120 mph (190 km/h), making it a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
According to the Philippine News Agency, Typhoon Rammasun (known locally as Typhoon Glenda) inflicted heavy damage on buildings, infrastructure, schools and agriculture. The value of the damage was estimated 7.6 billion Philippine pesos, or about 17 million U.S. dollars. Ninety-four people were reported killed and 317 injured as of July 20.
Super Typhoon Rammasun made two landfalls in China. Believed to be the strongest storm to hit southern China in 41 years, the storm landed at Wenchang City in Hainan Province at 3:30 p.m. local time on July 18 near its peak strength, with winds reported at 155 mph (250 km/h). Four hours later it made a second landfall in Zhanjiang City in Guangdong Province, with winds still roaring at about 134 mph (216 km/h).
According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, direct economic losses amounted to 26.55 billion yuan (4.32 billion U.S. dollars). The storm ravaged 468,500 hectares of crops, destroyed 37,000 homes in Hainan and Guangdong Provinces, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and killed at least 17 people.