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

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

Share this Blog
2
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 351 - 301

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17Blog Index

whats up for the tropics in October? More of the same or any active week or weeks expected?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
bah I can't read Hebrew without the vowels...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
My bad, dak...I missed the inflection...nice Yiddish, and I got the whole thing...and yes, he is (or was) on both counts
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Floodman - I see you point and you got mail about the rest.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
WS!!!, Tu tienen un tenedor? mi compadre? yo me gusto pescado pero yo no tienen un tenedor va a comer con pescado.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dakster:
Floodman - I forgot you were old school. I would have thought simtex would have been the way to go..

AND...

איך זען די אַסכאָול איז געווען איז צוריק.




Nice hebrew, by the way...

וועלכע אַן אַסכאָול דעם דזשפוו באָכער, איז ...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dakster:
Floodman - I forgot you were old school. I would have thought simtex would have been the way to go..

AND...

איך זען די אַסכאָול איז געווען איז צוריק.




I'm getting the first part of that, but the name escapes me
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


What else? Napalm, baby!
Napalm adds that :special: touch to all types of seared flesh......How is that storm doing off of Guam?:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
mikatnight - OK.

I don't so much worry about India. The most worrisome countries won't sign it anyway. Just my take. Not arguing. Just my thoughts. Really don't think India signing or not has much significance, imo.

Here's a good read from March of this year on just the topic of India and China and NPT.

Excerpt:

"For its part, India was left with the choice of remaining outside the NPT or relinquishing any possibility of maintaining even a minimal nuclear deterrent. In the light of perceived strategic challenges from both China and Pakistan, India chose a nuclear deterrent. However, it has been scrupulous in ensuring that its weapons material and technology are guarded against commercial or illicit export to other countries. Pakistan has been conspicuously unscrupulous, and China has been sometimes unduly flexible."

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Weather Student has been smoking the good stuff by the sound of his hot air that comes from his mouth...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NEwxguy:
Not even making it to 60 today.

Mostly Cloudy

57 °F
(14 °C) Humidity: 60 %
Wind Speed: W 13 MPH
Barometer: 29.72" (1007.8 mb)
Dewpoint: 43 °F (6 °C)
Visibility: 10.00 mi


had a high of 51.7 at 138 pm dropping off again down to 35 or lower tonight


next system organizing over high plains should be next col;d front for se by end of week/weekend



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Afternoon; beautiful drive this am for work from Tallahassee along HWY 98 & the Gulf to Apalachicola...Nice and cool and water nice and slick waters....Time to get the boats ready for some Fall fishing........Next significant weather events for the SE will probably be some severe weather events as the Fall fronts start to plow through in the coming months.....Sitting here digesting my Shrimp Basket lunch from Boss Oysters in Apalachicola.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Floodman - I forgot you were old school. I would have thought simtex would have been the way to go..

AND...

איך זען די אַסכאָול איז געווען איז צוריק.


Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
Quoting WeatherStudent:
You just gotta love politically close-minded people. Thank God that at least South Carolina stayed Red during last year's Presidential Election. :)


WTF????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Seastep:
mikatnight - India has good reason. China.

IAEA praises India, big time.

All was approved by the appropriate international bodies and it is all civilian use in India's case.

Also, here's a little about US disarmament in the Bush years.

Link


Don't even know where to start on why your China excuse doesn't make any sense.

NEW DELHI: IAEA chief Mohammad El Baradei has hailed India as a "leading advocate" for nuclear disarmament and asked the world to listen to its "voice" on elimination of all nuclear weapons.

"India called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons as far back as 1948. It is important that India's voice should continue to be heard as a leading advocate for nuclear disarmament," he said addressing the International Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy here.

And yet they still refuse to sign a treaty which has proven time and again its success in stabilizing the world from nuclear war, in a region where most experts think the next one will start.
You really should read that book. A wealth of info (and it's not about GWB).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Impressive cyclone in the West Pacific with a well established upper level outflow and deep convective tops. The system has an impressive small eye:

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30615
Quoting Dakster:
Floodman - I guess... What do you use to start the charcoal?


What else? Napalm, baby!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Floodman - I guess... What do you use to start the charcoal?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
Quoting Dakster:
Floodman - Remind me not to hunt with you.


Hey, you get the game and cook it all at once...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherStudent:
Te detesto, PressLord, imbecil. Good afternoon, all, :).


OMG, who are you to call anyone an imbecile?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dakster:


It is the time of year I get back at all family and friends that live North of here.


Will be my first mild winter I have to go through in its entirety. The lowest temperature I've ever been in is 16 degrees in Delaware. Dear lord was it bad.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Floodman - Remind me not to hunt with you.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
Quoting mikatnight:


Check this out. The world's smallest (unclassified) nuclear weapon:


It's called the "Davy Crockett Bazooka"


LOL...a squirrel rifle
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting mikatnight:
That guy better stay away from open flames; with all that wax - he's a human candle!


You got that right!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ElConando:


South Florida, were cold Fronts come to die :P. You will get your cold fronts in the 2nd half of October, don't worry I'll miss it when I have to endure Sub 40 degrees in January :(.


It is the time of year I get back at all family and friends that live North of here.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
Quoting SQUAWK:


he???????? Who is that


He who is with sin!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dakster:


I have access to a boat that size, but wasn't seriously considering it. I did think you would find it amusing though.

Floodman - WTF is up with that beard and moustache? Are you going to try and outdo him?


Under no circumstances would I try to do anything like that...the thing is dangerous...you could put your eye out with it!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SQUAWK:


he???????? Who is that


Bush.. But please don't start a politicol discussion over a joke.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
Quoting Dakster:


The same way he weakened the US Consitution...


he???????? Who is that
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dakster:
ElConando - Cool day for you then. Can you send some a little further south?


South Florida, were cold Fronts come to die :P. You will get your cold fronts in the 2nd half of October, don't worry I'll miss it when I have to endure Sub 40 degrees in January :(.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I've heard of fishing with dynomite, but that is taking it to the extreme.

When we was the planned use date?

500 years later after the radiation dissapated enough?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
Quoting mikatnight:
Here's a good one. Ever hear of “Project Chariot”? It was back in 1958 when somebody got the bright idea to create an artificial harbor at Cape Thompson, Alaska (675 miles NW of Palmer). Nothing particularly unusual in that except the planned method for excavation was to be the detonation of five thermonuclear bombs! Don't believe me? Here's the plans:


Plans to use five thermonuclear explosions to create an artificial harbor at Cape Thompson, Alaska, for Project Chariot in 1958. It was eventually cancelled amid controversy and protest. The outer-outline represents the "full scale" plan, which would require detonations totalling 2.4 megatons. The inner outline is a scaled down version, of 460 kilotons. It would be eventually be scaled down to 280 kilotons.

Those wild and crazy guys!



I do not possess the vocabulary to express just how much I love this!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not even making it to 60 today.

Mostly Cloudy

57 °F
(14 °C) Humidity: 60 %
Wind Speed: W 13 MPH
Barometer: 29.72" (1007.8 mb)
Dewpoint: 43 °F (6 °C)
Visibility: 10.00 mi
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's a good one. Ever hear of “Project Chariot”? It was back in 1958 when somebody got the bright idea to create an artificial harbor at Cape Thompson, Alaska (675 miles NW of Palmer). Nothing particularly unusual in that except the planned method for excavation was to be the detonation of five thermonuclear bombs! Don't believe me? Here's the plans:


Plans to use five thermonuclear explosions to create an artificial harbor at Cape Thompson, Alaska, for Project Chariot in 1958. It was eventually cancelled amid controversy and protest. The outer-outline represents the "full scale" plan, which would require detonations totalling 2.4 megatons. The inner outline is a scaled down version, of 460 kilotons. It would be eventually be scaled down to 280 kilotons.

Those wild and crazy guys!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
mikatnight - India has good reason. China.

IAEA praises India, big time.

All was approved by the appropriate international bodies and it is all civilian use in India's case.

Also, here's a little about US disarmament in the Bush years.

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ElConando - Cool day for you then. Can you send some a little further south?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
A low of 48 we had this morning in Tallahassee.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Seastep:
mikatnight - Just curious, how do you weaken a treaty?

You either abide by the agreement or you don't.


By allowing India access to nuclear technology (India refuses to sign the NPT) which is in violation of the rules of the NPT, other countries who did sign and do follow the rules are undermined.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Afternoon everyone on WU. Thanks Dr. Masters for today's update.

American Samoa, Samoa, Indonesia and Tonga need our prayers. They have a terrible mess on their hands. Hopefully the US Government and other nations will pitch in and will get them the help they need to clean up and rebuild.

Indonesia got slammed again with a 7.6 MW quake, 30 miles from a city with 900,000 residents, a terrible situation. Thankfully, no tsunami affected the area today.

The W PAC has a parade of storms to deal with, Melor, Paloma and TD 18.

Vietnam and the Philippines also got it bad! They need our prayers and support from the World communities to clean up and rebuild.

At least the Atlantic is quiet. Be blessed all!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dakster/mikatnight - Example of weakening the NPT treaty?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Seastep:
mikatnight - Just curious, how do you weaken a treaty?

You either abide by the agreement or you don't.


The same way he weakened the US Consitution...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
Quoting jeffs713:

As an addendum to that... with today's technology, if just 2 or 3 modern, fully-developed nuclear weapons were set off in large, metropolitan cities... you would easily surpass the damage and death estimates once collateral damage is factored in.


Check this out. The world's smallest (unclassified) nuclear weapon:


It's called the "Davy Crockett Bazooka"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
I dunno Dak...Thor Heyerdahl made it in a reed sailing raft...might be fun to try...


Maybe... But now right now. I would want to be in WAY better sailing shape that I am right now. And somehow I would have to get rid of my sea sickness tendency. I can go out for a day, but I don't think I could carry enough patches for the journey.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
mikatnight - Just curious, how do you weaken a treaty?

You either abide by the agreement or you don't.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
304. Skyepony (Mod)
I'm going out there with my newest far out theory... The MJO travels around very much like chandler's wobble (when viewed in this sort of graph form), it is also one thing that can effect chandler's wobble which is also effected by Earthquakes.. Perhaps the congested, stuck nature of the current MJO is throwing the moving, liquid balance & triggering these large earthquakes?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I dunno Dak...Thor Heyerdahl made it in a reed sailing raft...might be fun to try...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
Dak...the boat might make it...the crew probably won't...


I have access to a boat that size, but wasn't seriously considering it. I did think you would find it amusing though.

Floodman - WTF is up with that beard and moustache? Are you going to try and outdo him?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10572
That guy better stay away from open flames; with all that wax - he's a human candle!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 351 - 301

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.