Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tropical Depression Zoraida following Super Typhoon Haiyan

A new tropical Depression named Zoraida is now threatening the Philippines... Soon to be Podul, it is now located south east of the Philippines and expected to make landfall in northern Mindanao by Tuesday morning. This is not a severe storm, but it is following so close to the heels of Super Typhoon Haiyan.  Because the people of the Philippines are so vulnerable right at the moment, as they are trying to gather strength after such a disaster this past weekend, it makes it so dangerous. In the higher elevations of the country, people are experiencing mud slides as they are trying to dig out of the mess just created by the latest storm.
The northern part of the country is now expecting very heavy rains and strong winds, on top of what they already experienced if Haiyan.
With so many left homeless from the latest storm, the infrastructure left which almost doesn't exist in eastern Visayas, the homeless are especially vulnerable following Super Typhoon Haiyan.
It is now known that approximately 13,000,000 people have now been effected by Super Typhoon Haiyan, and the death toll will rise way above 10,000. A past storm named Rosing in 1991 had only half of the fatalities of Haiyan.
Super Typhoon Haiyan has deminished in strength as of late, but presently is affecting China and will have a major impact to Vietnam.

The Philippines - Tropical Storm Alley

Have you ever wondered why so my bad storms make their way to the Philippines? Super Typhoon Haiyan just happens to be the latest storm to pass through with devastating force. Haiyan was the third Category 5 typhoon to make landfall there.
Just prior to Haiyan, another typhoon hit the island nation on December 3, a storm known as typhoon Bopha. Still to date, it is known as the most destructive typhoon in Philippine history, as far as property damage goes. It is just too early to tell how much damage Super Typhoon Haiyan caused, althought the preliminary reports show so much destruction. Allot of the property damage was caused by storm surges as the storm finally came on land. Walls of water between 20 and 40 feet were reported, and towns along the coast in the direct path of the storm were demolished.
Typhon Bopha killed more than 1,900 people, and this latest storm that happens to be one of the largest and strongest ever recorded already has a prediction of 10,000 people killed, although the headcount so far is around 300. In the past 200 years, there has been at least 10 typhoons where there were at least 1,000 + casualties according to a historian named Christopher Burt from 'Weather Underground'.
So year after year, the Philippines experiences such storms of high magnitude. I have been in the country three different times, and during my stay during each one of them, I never experienced such bad weather as what has happened here now and in the past. Even with all of the tropical weather that affects the Philippines, there is one other country that has been hit more, and that would be China.
The western Pacific Ocean happens to be a spawning bed as on an average, there are at least 30 tropical cyclones formed there each year. The main reason being that this area of the world has consistant warm ocean waters year around.
Another country named India is well known for a Cyclone named Phailin that made landfall in 1999. The death told that October only reached 44.
Storms that form in the Western Pacific are called Hurricanes. Storms that form in the eastern Pacific are called Cyclones, and storms that form in the Indian Ocean are called Cyclones. They are actually the same type of storm.

Super Typhoon Haiyan

One of the strongest storms in recorded world history called Super Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, attacked this island country of 7000 + islands on November 7, 2013. The storm front origininated in the Pacific Ocean just east-southeast of Pohnpei on November 2, but since then, had intensified to a super typhoon with maximum sustained winds reaching or exceeding 240 km/h (150mph) on November 6th. At one point, the weather system punched through at least one-minute sustained winds of 314km/h (195mph) as recorded by JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency. It clearly reached a Category 5 storm in record time.
The storm continued  through the Pacific, gaining strength, then approached the Philippines from the east. It made its first landfall in the Philippines at Guiuan, Eastern Samar. As it passed over, the storm did not change in intensity. At this point when confirmed, this super typhoon will be the strongest storm to make landfall on any record book. Compared to the strength and size of this storm compared to the infamous storm that rammed into New Orleans in the mid 90s called hurricane Katrina, this storm was at least 4 times stronger, and could cover an area from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing could be left standing that had to endure the direct path of this storm.
Devastation from this storm is very intense, as the death toll on Samar Island and Leyte are extremely high. The latest reports now estimate that at least 10,000 people perished from the storm in the city of Tacloban alone. Evacuations by the Philippine government ahead of the storm most certainly saved thousands of lives. Still, not knowing the exact path of the storm until it reached land, there was no way to tell exactly which areas in the country would be affected the most. Where do you run to when you live on one of the many 7000+ islands that make up your world? The storm approached the Philippine nation in record time and there was little time to react to get out of the way of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
As many know who read this blog, I have been unable to continue reporting on weather systems here on a regular basis. The last article written was on August 19th, 2013, and since then allot has happened in the world regarding weather. On November 1, the end of the hurricane season, you would think that the weather systems would die down a little. This storm is proof that storms can still be spawned even if they are not in a set window of opportunity for the storms as we know it. In the Philippines, there is no change of season. There are no cold winters. The leaves never fall from the trees unless something like Super Typhoon Haiyan happens and takes every leaf away, including the trees and bark that support them.
Still, with all of the pain and suffering and death caused by this storm, the Philippines will bounce back. Many towns have survived in the path of the storm, yet others have completely perished. On a personal note, I'm still waiting to hear from my wifes family who had to endure this storm. It is highly unlikely that their farming community survived, but we still have a glimmer of hope that everyone that we know survived. Even though storm seasons come and go, I will continue reporting on a regular basis as this blog moves forward.