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Climate Change Is Testing Asia’s Megacities

Even the largest, most advanced cities are vulnerable to the intensifying storms in the Pacific Ocean.
High waves triggered by Typhoon Jebi are seen at a fishing port in western Japan.
High waves triggered by Typhoon Jebi are seen at a fishing port in western Japan.Reuters

The scenes captured in Hong Kong and other cities along China’s southern coast during Typhoon Mangkhut in mid-September were almost apocalyptic: trees being uprooted, towers swaying back and forth as their windows shattered, ocean waves barreling into buildings, roadways turned into rivers. Mangkhut’s highest wind speed clocked in at 180 miles per hour—the strongest storm on the planet this year. In the Philippines, the storm claimed at least 70 lives.

Weeks earlier, Typhoon Jebi slammed into Japan with winds up to 107 miles an hour—the strongest typhoon the country has encountered in the last 25 years. At least 11 people were killed, and tens of thousands were left without power; the storm smashed a tanker into a bridge, flipped cars over, and mangled the streets of Osaka. On Saturday, Typhoon Kong-rey—yet another “super typhoon”—hit South Korea, killing 2. It’s the 25th tropical storm in the 2018 season.