Two Pacific-sized disasters: the Samoan tsunami and Typhoon Ketsana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:29 PM GMT on September 30, 2009

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The Pacific spawned another huge natural disaster yesterday, when a magnitude 8.0 - 8.3 earthquake near Samoa generated a tsunami that devastated portions of American Samoa and neighboring islands. While the ocean surface was only displaced about three inches by the force of the earthquake near its epicenter, the rupture occurred near the 10,000 meter-deep Tonga-Kermadec Trench, along a swath 200 - 300 km long. A column of water miles deep and 200 - 300 km long accelerated downward by the force of gravity (or lifted upward by crustal motion) by three inches represents an massive amount of energy released into the ocean. The quake was able to generate a 1.5-foot tsunami on the Hawaiian island of Oahu 2,700 miles away, and a 0.6-foot tsunami on the Oregon coast, over 5,000 miles away.

Portlight.org is considering adopting an American Samoa family to help out in the wake of this huge disaster. They would like some feedback from their contributors on whether to go ahead with this idea, so stop by the Portlight.org blog to join the discussion.

Typhoon Ketsana
Typhoon Ketsana has finally dissipated, but not before bringing record flooding to Vietnam, two days after creating recording flooding and chaos in the capital of the Philippines, Manila. Ketsana made landfall Tuesday morning in Vietnam between Hue and Da Nang as a Category 2 typhoon with 105 mph winds. The storm dumped up to 20 inches of rain on Vietnam, according to satellite estimates. Some rivers in central Vietnam rose above the record flood heights recorded in an epic 1964 flood. In all, Ketsana has been responsible for 41 deaths in Vietnam and 11 in neighboring Cambodia, with many more missing. At least 350,000 people are homeless in Vietnam, joining the 380,000 left homeless in the Philippines from the storm.


Figure 1. NASA MODIS satellite image of Ketsana approaching Vietnam on Tuesday, September 28, 2009. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

The death toll in the Philippines from Ketsana has stabilized at 246, with another 38 missing. Residents of the islands need to keep a wary eye on Typhoon Parma, which is expected to intensify into a major typhoon and brush the northern Philippine island of Luzon on Saturday and Sunday.

Quietest September in the Atlantic since 1997
Well, it's the end of September, and what is traditionally the busiest month in the Atlantic was unusually quiet. We had only two named storms this September, the first time since 1997 we've had less than three September named storms. There were only 6.75 days in September with a named storm, which ranks as the 4th fewest September named storm days since 1950 (only 1962, 1970, and 1994 had fewer). The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index for September ranked as the 6th lowest since 1950. The quiet period is likely to continue for at least another week, as there are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss today, and none of the computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation over the next seven days. I'll post my first-half-of-October outlook for the Atlantic tomorrow.

Jeff Masters

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Floodman - Strontium only has a 29 year half life and cesium has a 30 year... So it may take alittle while, but certainly that couldn't have stopped them.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10436
Quoting Floodman:


Is that a dig at our age? LOL
Rest assured, it was posted in good spirit.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


You might want to reconsider that statement.



LOL um... West of this point, storms generally die of cold water. Very cold water. Also, if it's going to turn that abruptly, there will be a large amount of shear involved. I still say no threat to land.
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Quoting stormsurge39:
Does anybody know when Opal hit the Northern Gulf coast in the min 90's?
google.
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Quoting Bonedog:
Hey Flood, things are hectic as hell on my end. Work went gang buster again, plus still have my second job and the wedding is in a few weeks so I am pulling my hair out LOL. I came in here to get away from it all for a little while.

Hows things on your end?


Actually rather sedate on the work front...not bad at home either; all that will change soon enough though

Good to hear you're doing well; weddings can be hectic
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting winter123:
in other news, subtropical looking cyclone developing near the baja... no threat to land however



You might want to reconsider that statement.

Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Storm W how favorable is October looking fot TC developement?
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Senior Chief Stormw - Would the USCG deploy to American Samoa?
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Quoting jeffs713:

Along with the slight technical issue of using nuclear weapons above ground to *excavate* (aka "remove") a large section of rock.

Lets see... nuclear explosion + large amount of rock = fallout. What could possibly go wrong?


Hey, baby, no worries here; the future's so bright, I have to wear shades!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
I'll be out till late this evening or early am..tomorrow.


Paul you can reach me by cell anytime.

You Know where I'll be.


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Things ain't looking so hot for the Phillipines...


Parma Water Vapor Loop
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11669
Quoting Floodman:
@372.

Bone, could "However, this approach was abandoned for a number of technical reasons" include the half life of strontium and cesium?

Along with the slight technical issue of using nuclear weapons above ground to *excavate* (aka "remove") a large section of rock.

Lets see... nuclear explosion + large amount of rock = fallout. What could possibly go wrong?
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Quoting Patrap:


Opal was 95 ,a very active GOM Year and Basin.



Hurricane Opal in the Gulf of Mexico
Formed September 27, 1995
Dissipated October 6, 1995
Highest
winds
150 mph (240 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure 916 mbar (hPa; 27.05 inHg)
Fatalities 59 direct, 10 indirect[citation needed]
Damage $3.9 billion (1995 USD)
$6 billion (2009 USD)
Areas
affected Guatemala, Yucatán Peninsula, Alabama, Florida Panhandle, Georgia, most of eastern North America
Thanks
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in other news, subtropical looking cyclone developing near the baja... no threat to land however

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Quoting hydrus:
You probably are not old enough to remember the commercial for the national inquirer, if you were older, you would have had a laugh....Floodman and Ike would remember this add....And PATRAP.


Is that a dig at our age? LOL
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Hey Flood, things are hectic as hell on my end. Work went gang buster again, plus still have my second job and the wedding is in a few weeks so I am pulling my hair out LOL. I came in here to get away from it all for a little while.

Hows things on your end?
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Quoting hydrus:
You probably are not old enough to remember the commercial for the national inquirer, if you were older, you would have had a laugh....Floodman and Ike would remember this add.


I remember it... FWIW, I am old enough.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10436
Quoting stormsurge39:
Does anybody know when Opal hit the Northern Gulf coast in the min 90's?


Opal was 95 ,a very active GOM Year and Basin.



Hurricane Opal in the Gulf of Mexico
Formed September 27, 1995
Dissipated October 6, 1995
Highest
winds
150 mph (240 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure 916 mbar (hPa; 27.05 inHg)
Fatalities 59 direct, 10 indirect[citation needed]
Damage $3.9 billion (1995 USD)
$6 billion (2009 USD)
Areas
affected Guatemala, Yucatán Peninsula, Alabama, Florida Panhandle, Georgia, most of eastern North America
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@372.

Bone, could "However, this approach was abandoned for a number of technical reasons" include the half life of strontium and cesium?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
in addition to the ability to deliver medical and clinical supplies and equipment, we also have access to 4 mobile kitchens which can ffed several hundred people a day...if FEMA can't help transport this stuff then i don't know what good they are...
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Quoting Dakster:


If most of us here don't know by now, it just wasn't meant to be. (I am assuming you are not a pre-pubscent adolescent?)
You probably are not old enough to remember the commercial for the national inquirer, if you were older, you would have had a laugh....Floodman and Ike would remember this add....And PATRAP.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Service Members Provide Assistance During Manila Flooding


U.S. service members assisted Philippines officials in the capital Manila with rescue efforts in the wake of torrential downpours Sept. 26 that dumped more than a month of normal rainfall on parts of the country in a single day. Massive flooding resulted from the rain brought by Tropical Storm Ketsana.


Over a two-day period beginning Sept. 27, service members, assigned to the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines (JSOTF-P), conducted multiple rescue operations of trapped/injured people, transported and distributed food and medical supplies, provided medical treatment of injured persons, moved food and water to disaster relief centers, and evacuated trapped individuals to safety.
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Quoting presslord:


my old man will LOVE that...


;-)
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10436
Does anybody know when Opal hit the Northern Gulf coast in the min 90's?
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U.S.Pacific Command/www.pacom.mil
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Quoting Floodman:


Don't laugh, he may call in a favor or two and get Portlight an aircraft carrier


That'll git 'er done!
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Quoting Dakster:
Hey presslord. In regards to that topic:

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The MARINES don't have that problem."
President Ronald Reagan 1985


That is a great line.
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Quoting mikatnight:


He's got more links than an anchor chain on an aircraft carrier...


Don't laugh, he may call in a favor or two and get Portlight an aircraft carrier
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
re the alaskan "experiment" dont forget it was part of Operation Plowshare.

here are some "high" notes of Plowshare....

Widening the Panama Canal
A canal through Nicaragua, the Pan-Atomic Canal

also from wiki and other related articles:

cutting paths through mountainous areas for highways, and for connecting inland river systems. Other proposals involved blasting underground caverns for water, natural gas, and petroleum storage. Serious consideration was also given to using these explosives for various mining operations. One proposal suggested using nuclear blasts to connect underground aquifers in Arizona. Another plan involved surface blasting on the western slope of California's Sacramento Valley for a water transport project. Project Carryall[2], proposed in 1963 by the Atomic Energy Commission, the California Division of Highways (now Caltrans), and the Santa Fe Railway, would have used 22 nuclear explosions to excavate a massive roadcut through the Bristol Mountains in the Mojave Desert, to accommodate construction of Interstate 40 and a new rail line. At the end of the program, a major objective was to develop nuclear explosives, and blast techniques, for stimulating the flow of natural gas in "tight" underground reservoir formations. In the 1960s, a proposal was suggested for a modified in situ shale oil extraction process which involved creation of a rubble chimney (a zone in the oil shale formation created by breaking the rock into fragments) using a nuclear explosive.[1] However, this approach was abandoned for a number of technical reasons.

Nuclear explosives have never been used for commercial engineering purposes in the United States, but the concept has been tested
.


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Quoting Dakster:
Hey presslord. In regards to that topic:

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The MARINES don't have that problem."
President Ronald Reagan 1985


my old man will LOVE that...
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Quoting Floodman:


Damn, Pat, you have links for everything!


He's got more links than an anchor chain on an aircraft carrier...
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Military Provides Rescue, Humanitarian Support in Pacific

By Donna Miles and Lt. j.g. Theresa Donnelly
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2009 – While U.S. special operators conduct a massive rescue effort after devastating flooding in the Philippines, the Hawaii Air National Guard and USS Ingraham are headed to American Samoa to support rescue and humanitarian relief there following a massive earthquake and tsunami.

The Hawaii Air Guard is slated to fly two C-17 Globemaster III transport jets to American Samoa today in response to Federal Emergency Management Agency requests, Air Force Maj. Rene White, a Pentagon spokeswoman, reported.

The aircraft will transport cargo and personnel required to support disaster relief efforts, she said.

Meanwhile, USS Ingraham, homeported at Naval Station Everett, Wash., is en route to provide needed support, White said. Ingraham is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate.

FEMA officials asked the Defense Department to provide medical triage, hazardous material response, mass casualty care and strategic airlift. Officials are identifying the appropriate units to provide this support, White said.

An 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck 120 miles south of American Samoa yesterday afternoon, generating 15-foot waves in some of the territories’ islands that wiped out entire villages. At least 65 people are reported dead in Samoa, more than 20 in American Samoa, and at least six in neighboring Tonga.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in the affected communities,” White said.

Meanwhile, members of Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines assisted the Philippine armed forces in rescuing 52 people stranded by massive flooding during Tropical Storm Ketsana earlier this week.

The storm, known locally as Tropical Storm Ondoy, struck in the Manila area Sept. 27 and 28. The floods displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and the most recent reports indicate that nearly 100,000 people have been relocated, according to Philippines Disaster Management Services.

Members of Navy SEAL teams and Naval Special Boat Teams 12 and 20, and U.S. medical troops attached to the Philippines task force responded, working with the island nation’s military and government officials to rescue people from rooftops, deliver food and distribute medical supplies, officials reported.

Joint special operations task force rescue teams launched two F-470 Zodiac boats in the flood waters and worked through the night transporting people to schools, churches and evacuation shelters. The teams also helped to rescue a woman in labor who was stranded in a flooded-out house.

In addition, task force teams delivered 500 pounds of food to a high school Sept. 27, and contracted a civilian helicopter the following day to deliver 4,200 pounds of food and water in Cainta, northeast of Pasig city.

“These people lost their houses [and] cars, and might still be looking for family members,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Porter, a joint special operations task force medic who provided medical care. “I wanted to do anything and everything I could do to help the Filipino people. I was glad I could be a part of the rescue efforts.”

Local officials praised the response. “The work the U.S. military did was terrific,” said Roman Romulo, Pasig City congressman. “I was very thankful for U.S. support. Your teams were able to successfully go to Santa Lucia High School to help deliver food. It was a big boost that your people were helping us.”

American Samoa is the only U.S. possession in the southern hemisphere. It is slightly larger than Washington, D.C., covering 76.2 square miles, and has about 57,000 citizens.

(Donna Miles is an American Forces Press Service reporter. Navy Lt. j.g. Theresa Donnelly serves with Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines.)
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Hey presslord. In regards to that topic:

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The MARINES don't have that problem."
President Ronald Reagan 1985
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10436
Quoting Bonedog:
HOLA FOLKS :):):)

Been missing awhile :)

I see we are on the topic of thermonuclear arsenals


Would anyone like to play a game?


Ahhh, the infamous Bonedog! How's things?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
The ECMWF forecast for Parma to hang around the Philippines with complex steering currents.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
I dunno what's wrong wid dat boy...
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Quoting hcubed:


Don't think so - can you answer post #76?

Tacoman can't.


ROFLMAO
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
HOLA FOLKS :):):)

Been missing awhile :)

I see we are on the topic of thermonuclear arsenals


Would anyone like to play a game?
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Quoting hydrus:
But inquiring minds want to know!


If most of us here don't know by now, it just wasn't meant to be. (I am assuming you are not a pre-pubscent adolescent?)
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10436
Does wind shear look the same for October, with basically low developement of tropical cyclones?
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Quoting IKE:


LOL.

12Z ECMWF..shows nothing through October 10th.

Clock is running out on 2009...do I sound like tacoman?


Don't think so - can you answer post #76?

Tacoman can't.
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Quoting Patrap:


Well..if this FEMA conference call tonight cant get portlight Air-transport for the Folks needs in Samoa,.were gonna call in some Air Wing type favors owed,Post K, right here in the Public's Eye.


Cool Patrap! and you sure do seem to have a link for everything and anything.
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Quoting Dakster:


We can't have that type of talk in a family blog...
But inquiring minds want to know!
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Quoting Floodman:


Damn, Pat, you have links for everything!


Well..if this FEMA conference call tonight cant get portlight Air-transport for the Folks needs in Samoa,.were gonna call in some Air Wing type favors owed,Post K, right here in the Public's Eye.
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Quoting ElConando:
bah I can't read Hebrew without the vowels...


ROFLMAO.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10436
off topic i know, but saw some one who said 16degrees was the coldest they have been in, i lived in denver co, it was 26 below 0,dec 23 week1990 i think, to tell u the truth . i was waiting 4 a bus,,it did not feel all that bad,greetings from sunny golf capital pine hurst nc. gregory,,hope a hazel does not happen in october .
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 59


FLOOD RESCUE - U.S. Navy sailors working with Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines rescue Manila residents after flooding destroyed homes and displaced thousands of people in Manila, Philippines, Sept. 27, 2009. The sailors used two boats to assist more than 52 people, including a woman in labor, elderly residents and children. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class William Ramsey


Defenselink
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Quoting Patrap:
IDF,English


Damn, Pat, you have links for everything!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
IDF,English
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whats up for the tropics in October? More of the same or any active week or weeks expected?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.