After four other Typhoons—Saola, Damrey, Haikui, and Kai-tak—made landfall in eastern China in just three weeks, Typhoon Tembin appeared ready to do the same in late August, 2012. Tembin formed as a tropical depression over the western Pacific Ocean on August 19, 2012, and strengthened to a typhoon the next day.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on August 20. Sporting a well-defined eye, Tembin hovered over the ocean just east of the Philippine island of Luzon. Although the center of the storm is near the Philippines, Tembin was not actually forecast to make landfall there. Local news sources reported that the spill gates of three dams in Luzon had been opened as the storm, regionally known as Igme, poured rain over the country and causing water levels to quickly rise.
The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecast that Tembin would head northward before turning west and coming ashore in Taiwan and China. Focus Taiwan News Channel reported that Tembin might make landfall on Taiwan’s east coast on August 23.
The same day that MODIS captured this image, the JTWC reported that Tembin was a powerful storm. Located about 320 nautical miles (595 kilometers) northeast of Manila, Tembin had maximum sustained winds of 95 knots (175 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 115 knots (215 kilometers per hour). Over the next 36 hours, Tembin was expected to strengthen, developing maximum sustained winds of 120 knots (220 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 145 knots (270 kilometers per hour).