Heavy rainfall and flooding from Typhoon Matsa killed at least 12 people and caused millions of euros worth of damage in China. In Matsa’s aftermath, unique data from ESA’s ERS-2 spacecraft reveal the interior wind fields powering it at its height. China’s ninth typhoon this year, Matsa first came ashore at Yuhan County in Zhejiang Province on 6 August, with reported winds up to 250 kilometres per hour. Matsa brought heavy rains and serious damage to several coastal provinces and cities – in Zhejiang alone 13 000 houses were destroyed and farmland inundated. Since downgraded to a tropical storm, Matsa reached Beijing on the evening of 8 August although failed to bring the torrential rainfall that was initially anticipated by the authorities – poised to evacuate thousands from vulnerable areas on the outskirts of the city.
Due to the support of China’s Remote-Sensing Ground Station (RSGS), located in Beijing and run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, scientifically unique information about the interior structure of Matsa at its strongest has been made available to worldwide meteorological offices and scientific users. A detailed picture of the wind speed and direction around the centre of the typhoon was acquired from ESA’s ERS-2 when the typhoon was still in the East China Sea.