China faces the risk of severe damage from a hurricane whose trail of destruction could encompass Shanghai and major crop producing regions, lifting the country’s need for imports of crops such as corn and soybeans.
Forecasters at the Korea Meteorological Administration and at US-based weather service WxRisk.com have warned that either South Korea or eastern China will be struck next weekend by a typhoon which is already blowing winds of more than 100 miles per hour.
However, the European weather model, viewed as an accurate predictor of hurricane risk, sees the typhoon, named Muifa by meteorologists, as most likely to enter China near or north of Shanghai.
"This has the potential of being an extremely significant event," veteran meteorologist David Tolleris, at WxRisk.com, said, flagging "the increasing threat of a major, if not severe, hurricane".
"If the European models correct – if – the city of Shanghai will end up looking like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina," the 2005 storm which killed more than 1,800 people and caused an estimated $80bn in property damage.
‘Potentially significant impact’
Furthermore, the storm is currently forecast to pass up the eastern China coast, bringing heavy rains and high winds to major growing areas of the north China plains and southern Manchuria.
The storm could "have a potentially significant impact upon their corn and soybean crop", Mr Tolleris said.
"If this scenario plays out, it would certainly cause a significant increase in [China’s] import demand for US corn and soybeans."
Weather models later this week will give a better handle on the likely course of Muifa, which currently looks like gusting up to 155mph, Mr Tolleris told Agrimoney.com.
Rain on cane
The storm comes as southern China is recovering from Tropical Storm Nock-ten, which last weekend produced "torrential rains and serious flooding, along with strong winds and battering waves", according to Meteorlogix.
"Nock-ten produced very heavy rains across far southern portions of the south China sugar areas," in Hainan.