Several Powerful Typhoons And A Major Hurricane Make Headlines In Last Month
Over the past week, Hurricaneville has been tracking what is now Tropical Storm Rina in the Northwestern Caribbean. This latest storm in the Atlantic Basin was the first storm in several weeks. Prior to that, there had been Ophelia at the end of September, and Philippe in early October. These two storms ended up being hurricanes. Ophelia battled difficult circumstances, but eventually became a major hurricane with 140 mile per hour winds.
Before Rina emerged in the Western Caribbean, and threatened the Yucatan Peninsula in the past week, activity had picked up quite a bit in the Eastern Pacific and Western Pacific. There had been several powerful typhoons in the West Pacific including Typhoon Roke, Typhoon Nesat, and Typhoon Nalgae. All three had the intensity of a major hurricane with two of them being classified as super typhoons with Category Four strength on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Nesat and Nalgae moved over the same part of the Philippines, and left a great deal of flooding and devastation there. Meanwhile, Roke made landfall over Japan.
Nesat and Nalgae as well as Tropical Storm Haitang all ended up making their final landfalls over Vietnam. While these storms were much weaker when they came through these areas, they brought significant rainfall to Indochina, which has resulted in major flooding in places such as Thailand. The capital city of Bangkok is still under siege from floodwaters. So far this year, there have been 34 tropical depressions, 20 tropical storms, 8 typhoons, and 4 super typhoons in the WestPAC. The storms have left 459 people dead, and an estimated $4.4 billion in damages. The Western Pacific Basin is the most active in the world with some of the most powerful storms forming there.
Further east in the Pacific, there had been an increase in activity as well with the development of several storms and a depression. When we last reported on the tropics in late September, we were dealing with a powerful storm in Hurricane Hilary. A little while after that, Hurricane Irwin developed, and then Hurricane Jova emerged. For a while, it appeared that the West Coast of Mexico was going to get a one-two punch of powerful storms. With these latest storms, there have been 12 tropical depressions, 10 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes.
Jova was the biggest threat to Mexico as a Category Three major hurricane with maximum sustained winds topping out at 125 miles per hour. Irwin was only a Category One storm with 90 mile per hour winds. Hilary was a Category Four system, but stayed offshore. Before making landfall near Jalisco, Mexico, Hurricane Jova began an eyewall replacement cycle, and weakened to a Category Two Hurricane with 100 mile per hour winds. Even after dissipating, the storm still produced significant rains in the interior of Mexico. Jova left eight people dead, and caused some $28 million in damage. With climate conditions turning back to a mild La Nina episode this summer, the Eastern Pacific has had to deal with cooler than normal sea surface temperatures.
The Western Pacific remains quite active on this late Friday morning (EDT). Earlier in the week, Hurricaneville mentioned that there were two systems in this region. One of them was Tropical Storm Koppu, which made landfall in Southern China southwest of Hong Kong. The other was a Super Typhoon, Choi-Wan.
Choi-Wan became the strongest storm in any of the basins this season with winds of Category Five Strength at 160 miles per hour a short time later. The strongest storm in the Eastern Pacific was Hurricane Jimena, which had winds sustained just below Category Five intensity at 155 miles per hour. Meanwhile, in the Atlantic, the most powerful storm of the season was Hurricane Bill, which had maximum sustained winds of 135 miles per hour, or Category Four strength on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
Since peaking as a powerful Super Typhoon, Choi-Wan has since waned. According to the latest report from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, maximum sustained winds have slackened to just 110 knots, or 125 miles per hour. Winds are gusting to 155 knots. The storm is moving to the Northeast at about 12 miles per hour, and is tracking very close to the islands of Iwo To and Chichi Jima.
The outskirts of Tokyo and the rest of Central Japan just lies outside of the outer fringes of the forecast cone. The storm is projected to curve to the Northeast, and then East with time and avoid the main island of Japan. Choi-Wan is forecast to strengthen over the next 12 hours after dealing with an eyewall replacement cycle, which may have contributed to the weakening of the storm. Hurricaneville will continue to monitor the progress of this system.
While conditions in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific are relatively placid, there is plenty of action in the Western Pacific. We have a Category One strength typhoon that made landfall in Southern China within the past 24 hours while a Super Typhoon is still going strong. Tropical Storm Koppu made landfall in Southern China near Hong Kong, and produced wind gusts of up to 71 miles per hour there according to the Weather Channel. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center has issued its final advisory on the storm, which is now inland over southern portions of China.
Meanwhile, there is our Super Typhoon Choi-Wan, which is located approximately 165 miles north of Saipan. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 150 miles per hour. Further strengthening is expected with this system as it moves to the Northwest and then North over the next 48 to 72 hours. The forecast track has the storm passing well to the south of mainland Japan, but threatening the island of Iwo To over time. More details on these two storms will be out later today.
While things have picked up in the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic, they are waning in the Western Pacific. Over the past few days, the site has been reporting on Tropical Storm Dujuan. On Saturday, there were indications that Dujuan would become a typhoon, and possibly affect Japan. However, on Sunday the forecast didn’t have Dujuan strengthening to anything more than a storm, and this morning, it has weakened to a depression.
According to the latest information from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Dujuan now only has winds of 30 knots, or 35 miles per hour with gusts reaching 40 knots, or 45 miles per hour. The cone of uncertainty takes Japan completely out of the picture as Dujuan is projected to move far to the south of the main island. The intensity forecast calls for Dujuan to remain at this intensity for the next 48 hours, or so, and then strengthen to have 45 knot, or 50 mile per hour winds by 72 hours. This increase in intensity is expected from a transition into an extratropical cyclone.
Looking at the latest infrared satellite imagery of the depression, it is easy to see that the center of circulation is pretty much exposed at this point. Much of the convection associated with the system is on the southern and western side of it. As Dujuan tracks to the Northeast, it will begin to encounter greater amounts of wind shear, which will assist in making it lose its tropical characteristics. Meanwhile, in the Central Pacific, conditions continue to be relatively tranquil over the Hawaiian Islands as shower and thunderstorm activity passes to the south of the 50th state.
According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, no tropical formation is expected through early Wednesday morning. So far this season, there have been 6 depressions, 5 storms, and 2 hurricanes in this basin. Four of the tropical cyclones that have traversed this region originated in the Eastern Pacific.
Right now the only real serious activity at the moment throughout the tropics is Tropical Storm Dujuan. As of 2 AM EDT, the storm was located in the Western Pacific some 720 miles to the South-Southwest of Tokyo, Japan. Dujuan was packing winds of 55 miles per hour, and indications are that it will remain a storm after showing signs of becoming a typhoon on Saturday.
Looking at the latest info from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s web site, the storm has weakened to have winds of 50 miles per hour with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. The storm has moved to within 580 miles of Tokyo, and it is moving to the North-Northeast at 10 miles per hour. Maximum wave heights with Dujuan are still topping off at 25 feet.
The cone of uncertainty has shifted to the right a bit with the left fringe staying offshore near the Tokyo outskirts within 48 hours. The warning graphic also indicates no significant change in strength throughout the forecast period. Winds are only expected to increase to 50 knots, or 60 miles per hour with gusts up to 65 knots, or minimal hurricane force over the next 24 to 48 hours.
Looking at the latest infrared satellite imagery, you can see the system has fair outflow, and good convection along with banding. However, the Northeast quadrant appears to be weak, and the center is somewhat exposed there. The forecast discussion indicates that along with the lack of deep convection over the past 12 hours or so. Water vapor imagery indicates an upper level trough is entrenched over Japan, and is providing strong westerly winds to the North of Dujuan.
Consequently, the forecast track of the storm continues to head to the Northeast and accelerate with time. In addition, the poor organization of the system coupled with the strong westerly flow will prevent Dujuan from getting much stronger. Meanwhile, in the Central Pacific, conditions near Hawaii are quite tranquil despite the presence of some early morning clouds. The bulk of the convection is staying to the south and west of the island chain.
While things are relatively tranquil in the Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific with no depressions or storms at the moment in either region, the Western Pacific has a tropical storm. According to the Weather Channel’s latest report on the tropics this afternoon, Tropical Storm Dujuan is being closely watched as it moves to the Northwest. The latest forecast calls for Dujuan to become a typhoon, and threaten the South-Central portion of Japan before recurving to the Northeast and out to sea.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center indicates that maximum sustained winds are at 50 miles per hour while gusts are up to 60 miles per hour. Located some 770 miles to the South-Southwest of Tokyo Japan, Dujuan has tracked to the North-Northeast at about 11 miles per hour. The forecast cone of uncertainty has the outskirts of Tokyo on the very fringe as the storm is expected to reach typhoon status by late afternoon tomorrow (EDT). Maximum wave heights could get as high as 25 feet with this system.
Earlier in the day, the storm was showing signs of further development. According to the forecast discussion from the JTWC, deep convection continues to develop around the center of circulation while healthy outflow is providing good exhaust as depicted in the latest infrared satellite and water vapor imagery. Dujuan is currently being influenced by a subtropical ridge to the East of the system. As it starts to get to the periphery of the ridge, expect Dujuan to turn to more toward the east, and away from Japan.
So far this year in the WestPAC, there have been 22 depressions, 10 storms, and 5 typhoons according to information from Wikipedia. One of the most significant was Typhoon Morakot, which at peak strength was only a Category Two Typhoon with winds of 90 miles per hour, but it produced torrential rains over the rugged terrain of Taiwan that spawned deadly floods and mudslides.
The tropics have started to stir. While the stirring is not in the Atlantic, it is in the Western Pacific where tropical waters are already starting to warm. The Western Pacific region is the most active and prolific of all the tropical basins in the world. The Eastern Pacific and North Atlantic are the next most active. The most powerful storms also occur in the Western Pacific including the strongest ever recorded in the world with Typhoon Tip back in 1979. Winds in Tip reached as high as 190 miles per hour, or 306 kilometers per hour while the pressure dropped to 870 millibars, or 25.69 inches of Hg (Mercury). By comparison, the strongest storm ever measured on record in the Atlantic was Hurricane Wilma back in the stormy and turbulent 2005 season.
Last week, a moderate typhoon, Negouri, churned through the Northwestern Pacific, and swept through the South China Sea with a landfall in the island province of Hainan, and then into the mainland to the Southwest of Hong Kong. According to news reports from China Daily, there were three dead and 40 missing as of Monday afternoon although 18 Chinese fishermen were rescued near Haikou according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua. Winds reached minimum hurricane force on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as they were sustained at 120 kilometers per hour, or 75 mph, which made Negouri a Category One Hurricane. As the storm moved inland, it weakened, and lost its hurricane status. Becoming a tropical storm, and eventually a tropical depression, Negouri then moved through the Chinese commercial jewel of Hong Kong with torrential rains. In Hong Kong, the storm left a trail of costly damage including $30 million in revenue for the Hong Kong Jockey club, and thousands of dollars to local merchants in the city.
According to the Associated Press article on the typhoon, approximately 120,000 people were forced to flee to higher ground in the face of the storm. Typhoon Negouri, the first storm to affect China in 2008, was one of the earliest typhoons to strike China. The last time such a storm hit the mainland was before the Communist takeover in 1949. According to news reports from the former Portuguese colony of Macau, which was turned over to China in the late 1990s, forecasters there were blaming La Nina conditions in the Eastern Pacific for the early arrival of typhoon season. La Nina occurs when sea surface temperatures off the coast of South America are below normal, which is the opposite of El Nino conditions. Several weeks ago, Hurricaneville reported that seasonal forecasters noted the La Nina conditions were easing.
Good morning everyone. While activity has certainly picked up in the Atlantic after two and a half months of near complete dormancy, the Western Pacific, the most prolific of all the tropical basins on the planet, continues to produce huge storms. As of 8 PM on Thursday evening (Far East/Asian time), Sepat, which is a Malaysian word for a freshwater fish, had winds of 115 miles per hour with gusts as high as 140 miles per hour. The eye of the typhoon was centered some 375 miles to the southeast of Taiwan’s southeastern coastal city of Taitung.
According to EarthTimes.org, Typhoon Sepat is now moving to the Northwest at approximately 12 miles per hour. The storm system, which has come on the heels of two other recent typhoons, Pabuk and Usagi, has forced Taiwan’s major airlines to either cancel or reschedule both domestic and international flights. The storm was noted by the Hindu News Update Service as being a Super Typhoon at one point with an estimated 135 mph winds, and gusts as high as 155 mph. Later reports courtesy of Bloomberg News Service indicated that the typhoon did indeed cross the maximum possible threshold of Category Five intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
Waves off the coast of Taiwan were as high as 46 feet while winds extended some 100 miles from the storm center. The Taiwanese government issued a land and sea warning for the storm on Thursday as Sepat drew closer to the Nationalist Chinese outpost. Since records have been taken, the Western Pacific has probably been the most active with often twenty storms or more per season. In comparison, the Atlantic Basin usually averages ten storms per season, and the Eastern Pacific gets at least 15 storms per year. Last year was particularly active in the Western Pacific thanks to the presence of El Nino. Pabuk struck Taiwan a little more than a week or so ago with winds of tropical storm strength at 60 mph, and gusts in excess of 75 miles per hour.
Several days before that, Typhoon Usagi made its third landfall during its lifespan as it came ashore along the coast of Japan. Winds were as high as 76 mph, which made it a Category One storm according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Back in July, Typhoon Man-yi struck the Japanese islands of Kyushu and Shikoku killing several people. Moving westward across the Asian continent into the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea region, where a couple of cyclones have impacted Oman on the Arabian Peninsula and Iran back in June. So, while the Atlantic has been sleeping, and the Eastern Pacific has been active, but fairly harmless, other parts of the earth’s oceans have been raging with tropical fury in 2007.
Nearly two weeks ago, a significant typhoon made its way through the Western Pacific as that region undergoes yet another stormy season. On May 19 and 20, 2007, Typhoon Amang, which also went by the international name of Yulu, moved through the Philippine Islands with winds as high as 105 mph and gusts over 125 mph according to news reports from that part of the world. For those who aren’t aware, typhoons are also hurricanes that occur in the Western Pacific region. Last year was a very busy and deadly season in the Western Pacific as a result of the warmer than normal ocean temperatures due to El Nino.
Meanwhile, in the latest news out of the Far East, a Japanese government report indicated that nearly one million homes in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be flooded if the region receives 20 percent more rainfall than it did from Typhoon Kathleen in 1947, which is still the largest typhoon to strike there since World War II. Nearby in China, officials warned the public that portions country could be hit with weather disasters ranging from Northern China to the Western provinces of Xinjiang and Gansu along with neighboring Inner Mongolia are expected to have sandstorms over the next three days. And that warning didn’t include the possible threat from typhoons this season.
In 2006, there were a number of deadly and devastating storms in the Western Pacific including: Typhoon Chanchu, which was a typhoon that formed 40 days earlier than usuaal, and killed some 294 people in the Phillipines, Southern China, and Southeast Asia (including 276 in Vietnam), and Typhoon Bilis, which was the longest lasting storm on record. The development of these storms in the wake of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and rising concerns over global warming as well as the deadly tsunami that hit Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, increased calls to speed up disaster plans throughout the region.