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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This is a news report on the latest earthquake.
Very serious.
Link
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Just in utter shock just watching the continued death and destruction that Mother Nature is bringing to the Oceania region over the past few days and in the days to come. Never has there been a time I can remember where there were so many varied natural disasters occurring in one isolated region in the world. I'm really praying for the people in that region since they have been getting punished by Mother Nature. And to anyone who may reside or have interests in that region, I send my best wishes and hope that things improve and that recovery will be rather swift.
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Quoting Snowfire:
Classic pinhole for Parma. One fears the Phillipines may be about to get whacked again.

I have family in Philippines, they are not looking forward to Parma or Melor which is heading in the same general direction
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Press - mail
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NavyBookmarkPage
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Parma is literally spinning in soup ...
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Quoting JRRP:
15mph ? and is TD?
what the co%uFFFDo is that ??


According to JTWC, that TD has dissipated a day or so ago, and is close to being absorbed by Parma.
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693. xcool



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Quoting DaaiTouLaam:


I wouldn't want to be sitting in a mountain valley in northern Luzon right now.


LuzonWikipedia

"Parma%u2019s center will be at its closest to Luzon, where Ketsana wrought its destruction, by late tomorrow or early on Oct. 3, according to the Navy forecast. Winds were gusting to 231 kph and waves near the eye are as high as 7.6 meters (25 feet), the typhoon center said."


Bloomberg.com
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possible low level circulation on that T-wave
might be a player down the road if the caribbean can find some better shear condition
what you guys think
Link
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690. JRRP
15mph ? and is TD?
what the cońo is that ??
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I'm out for the night; I have alot of Calculus to study. But before I leave, I'll leave y'all with a Cloudsat that just missed Parma's eyewall.

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Quoting btwntx08:

everyone knows lol


Why is it funny that it is a super typhoon that is going to make landfall?
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Parma
Earth Observatory.
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StormW...I've been cautioned by several people I respect to temper my attitude toward FEMA...therefore...I don't have much to say...but...transport is the missing link right now vis a vis Samoa...will WU mail you my ph #...if you have any ideas call me in the AM...Thanks!
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684. xcool
:)
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If you use Firefox, there is an add-on called eQuake alert. It can drive you crazy sometimes, but interesting.
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My thoughts on the Atlantic

1. AOI between 10N and 15N, 45W and 50W has a LOW(10-25%) chance of tropical development in the next 72 hours.

2. AOI near 40N 30W has a VERY LOW(<10%)chance of tropical development for the next 72 hours.
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681. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
heh I just noticed that was Indonesia and not Sam
oa
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Quoting Chicklit:
Hong Kong close enough.
Phillipines still contemplating evacuation according to this article from 1 hour ago.
Link


I wouldn't want to be sitting in a mountain valley in northern Luzon right now.
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Classic pinhole for Parma. One fears the Phillipines may be about to get whacked again.
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Parma just exploded to a Super Typhoon...

Parma and Melor are connected.
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Quoting StormW:
Presslord,
You around?


Over here!
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674. JRRP
DATE..................................LAT LON... MAG DEPTH km... REGION
01-OCT-2009 01:52:30 -2.5.. 101.6.. 6.8..... 24.9.... SOUTHERN SUMATERA, INDONESIA
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Quoting Bordonaro:


Alot depends on how deep the quake is and how much land moves in the process! If any portion of the sea floor rises or fall from a sea bottom fracture the potential is there. Large quakes usually move alot of territory.

Yeah, Dr. Masters mentioned a 3 inch displacement in his blog this a.m. that caused a shift of megatons of water in the Samoa tsunami.
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671. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Quakes with magnitude of 7 or greater is the limit where the agencies issue tsunami advisories or warnings if necessary.
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Looks like WPac getting everything EAtl isn't. Wow. Nature has a way of balancing herself that is pretty darned dramatic.
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I'm adding a lot of links tonight. Thanks.
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668. xcool
Mother Nature so mad right now !imo;
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I am no expert on earthquakes. Isn’t a 6.8 just a blip on the Richter scale? No tsunami threat?


Alot depends on how deep the quake is and how much land moves in the process! If any portion of the sea floor rises or fall from a sea bottom fracture the potential is there. Large quakes usually move alot of territory.
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Link
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Quoting DaaiTouLaam:


Northridge quake of '94 was 6.7
San Francisco quake of '89 was 6.9


Again no expert...but those quakes were land based and not in the ocean. Doesn't that make a difference?
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664. JRRP
Link
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663. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Depression Ketsana (1004 hPa)

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Hong Kong close enough.
Phillipines still contemplating evacuation according to this article from 1 hour ago.
Link
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I am no expert on earthquakes. Isn’t a 6.8 just a blip on the Richter scale? No tsunami threat?


Northridge quake of '94 was 6.7
San Francisco quake of '89 was 6.9
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From JTWC

SUPER TYPHOON (STY) 19W (PARMA) HAS RAPIDLY INTENSIFIED AND HAS DEVELOPED A PIN-HOLE EYE. ANIMATED WATER VAPOR IMAGERY SHOWS THE SYSTEM HAS SIGNIFICANTLY DEEPENED WITH MULTIPLE CONVECTIVE BANDS WRAPPING TIGHTER INTO THE WELL-DEFINED EYE.THE SYSTEM IS EXHIBITING EXCELLENT POLEWARD OUTFLOW INTO A TROPICAL UPPER TROPOSPHERIC TROUGH TO THE NORTH. CURRENT INTENSITY AND POSITION ARE BASED ON DVORAK INTENSITY FIXES FROM PGTW AND RJTD WITH HIGH CONFIDENCE.
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Quoting Chicklit:
Neat how you click on the image and the image comes up.
Where are you, DaaiToulaam?


Hong Kong.

Keeping an eye on the steering flow for Parma as Ketsana exits stage left
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I am no expert on earthquakes. Isn’t a 6.8 just a blip on the Richter scale? No tsunami threat?


It shouldnt do much there, but Ive only experienced a 5.2, pretty intense though when it is 5 o'clock in the morning and you get rolled out of bed :P
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting 1900hurricane:

160 kts? I've failed to see that forecast...


Yea just updated to 145kts peak intensity with gust to 175kts in a few days which again might be generous considering how tightly wound up this is. Long day at work
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Reposting this so it carries onto the next page.
Quoting presslord:
please take a moment to check out the Portlight featured Wunderblog...and join in the discussion as we noodle some things out...Thanks!
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I am no expert on earthquakes. Isn’t a 6.8 just a blip on the Richter scale? No tsunami threat?
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Quoting DaaiTouLaam:Wind Shear for Western Pacific

Neat how you click on the image and the image comes up.
Where are you, DaaiToulaam?
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652. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
aftershocks

1. M8.0 2009/09/29 17:48:11 that started the event
2. M7.6 2009/09/30 10:16:10 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
3. M6.8 2009/10/01 01:52:30 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
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Thanks For The Update Dr. Masters. Im interested about the 2 areas of convection in the Eastern Atlantic. We May Have Some Action in 7-10 days.
- Bryant
TarHeelWeather.com
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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.

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