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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851. hydrus
2:41 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Quoting IKE:
Fifty knots of shear in the GOM...40 knots of shear in the Caribbean...40-50 knots of shear east of the islands...40 knots of shear west of the western Africa coast...

Is there a little shear in the tropics?...lol
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21766
849. Unfriendly
2:24 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
the left hook on parma at the end of the navy map doesn't bode well for Hong Kong... IIRC, the "worst case scenario" for them is a storm clearing the philippines to the north and then heading southwest, strengthening and recurving...
Member Since: July 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 317
848. Magicchaos
2:21 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
New Blog
Member Since: April 3, 2009 Posts: 107 Comments: 382
847. IKE
2:21 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
846. Magicchaos
2:05 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
invest_RENUMBER_ep912009_ep182009.ren

TD 18-E has formed.

It might be a brief one though.
Member Since: April 3, 2009 Posts: 107 Comments: 382
845. goddessnoel4u
1:48 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
i guess mother nature is doing fall cleaning

844. Magicchaos
1:35 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Invest 91E(As of 8:00AM EDT)
18.9N 117.9W
Winds:35 MPH
Movement:WNW at 8 MPH
Pressure:1004 MB

Member Since: April 3, 2009 Posts: 107 Comments: 382
843. Magicchaos
1:23 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Unenhanced IR on 91E

Looks likes we might get a brief TC soon in the Eastern Pacific. DMAX within the next hour or so.
Member Since: April 3, 2009 Posts: 107 Comments: 382
842. BayouBorn1965
1:07 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Quoting Weather456:
Geeze...



Looks very familiar like on 8/30/2005.
Member Since: July 21, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 74
841. RitaEvac
1:03 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Parma looks to be major headlines in the coming days, going from one thing to another over there
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9648
840. IKE
1:01 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
I feel for all of those people. Too much at the same time.

Here's a mellow song to ease their suffering...Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
839. Orcasystems
12:53 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Thousands feared dead after Indonesia quake

Philippines Mobilizes Armed Forces for Second Storm in a Week

Navy forecasters designated Parma as a supertyphoon when its wind speed reached 240 kph. Its winds are forecast to strengthen to 259 kph by 2 p.m. tomorrow, making it a Category 5 storm, the strongest rating.

Such storms are capable of causing catastrophic damage and can blow roofs off residential and industrial buildings, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

The Navys five-day forecast indicates Parma will cross Luzon and head toward Taiwan, where more than 600 people were killed in August when Typhoon Morakot blew across the island.

To the east of Parma, Tropical Storm Melor strengthened to a typhoon with winds of 194 kph, according to the Navy center.

Melor was 809 kilometers east of the U.S. territory of Guam at 2 p.m. Manila time today, the typhoon center said. The storm was moving west-northwest at 17 kph.

The storms winds are forecast to strengthen to 213 kph within 24 hours. The Navys forecast track shows it crossing the island chain of Saipan north of Guam and heading toward the southern islands of Japan during the next five days.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
838. NEwxguy
12:53 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Amazing what is going on over in the Pacific,Mother Earth is really dumping on those poor people over there.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 886 Comments: 15950
837. tornadofan
12:51 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Quoting reeldrlaura:
GREAT STORY/LINK COTILLION!!!!!


I second that comment.
Member Since: April 5, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 12345
836. reeldrlaura
12:45 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
GREAT STORY/LINK COTILLION!!!!!
Member Since: July 31, 2005 Posts: 93 Comments: 6007
835. Cotillion
12:39 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Link

A cool story... regardless of your opinion on climate change.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
834. nrtiwlnvragn
12:24 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
MONTHLY TROPICAL WEATHER SUMMARY


FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SEPTEMBER WAS A RATHER QUIET MONTH WITH ONLY TWO NAMED STORMS...ONE
OF WHICH REACHED MAJOR HURRICANE INTENSITY. THE LONG-TERM
AVERAGE FOR SEPTEMBER IS FOUR NAMED STORMS...TWO HURRICANES...
AND ONE MAJOR HURRICANE. IN TERMS OF ACCUMULATED CYCLONE ENERGY...
ACE...WHICH MEASURES THE COMBINED STRENGTH AND DURATION OF TROPICAL
STORMS AND HURRICANES...SEPTEMBER ACE WAS ONLY 22 PERCENT OF THE
LONG-TERM MEAN...THE LOWEST VALUE SINCE 1994...AND THE SIXTH LOWEST
SINCE 1944.

REPORTS ON INDIVIDUAL CYCLONES...WHEN COMPLETED...ARE AT THE WEB
SITE OF THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER...USE LOWER CASE LETTERS...
HTTP://WWW.NHC.NOAA.GOV/2009ATLAN.SHTML

SUMMARY TABLE

NAME DATES MAX WIND (MPH)
-------------------------------------------------
TD ONE 28-29 MAY 35
TS ANA 11-16 AUG 40
MH BILL 15-24 AUG 135
TS CLAUDETTE 16-18 AUG 50
TS DANNY 26-29 AUG 60
TS ERIKA 1- 4 SEP 60
MH FRED 7-12 SEP 120
TD EIGHT 25-26 SEP 35

Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11274
833. Orcasystems
12:11 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
456 you have mail :)


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI


See comments section for the Comedy
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
832. IKE
12:02 PM GMT on October 01, 2009
Looks like the cold front moving into the SE USA tomorrow and Saturday will stall out in the northern GOM. Then move back north as a warm front, returning warm and humid air to the lower SE USA early and mid next week.

Possible stronger cold-front may head into the SE USA the end of next week. That front is questionable as to how far south it makes it, at this time.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
831. stoormfury
11:54 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
ELONGATED AREA OF LOW PRESSURE EAST OF THE WINWARD ISLANDS

Link
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2720
830. IKE
11:41 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
And nothing continues with only 60 more days....17 hours...19 minutes left......

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT THU OCT 1 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BROWN
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
829. IKE
11:39 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Fifty knots of shear in the GOM...40 knots of shear in the Caribbean...40-50 knots of shear east of the islands...40 knots of shear west of the western Africa coast...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
827. Chicklit
11:15 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Reuters

Alertnet.org Predicting Cat 5 at Landfall:
"Typhoon Parma is forecast to strike the Philippines as a super typhoon at about 00:00 GMT on 3 October. Data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 16.9 N, 123.1 E. Parma is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 259 km/h (161 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher."

Full Moon is the 4th.
Wonder if Dr. Masters has anything on storm surge in this area.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11390
826. Chicklit
11:06 AM GMT on October 01, 2009

Melor
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11390
825. Chicklit
11:04 AM GMT on October 01, 2009

Parma
ut oh
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11390
824. Cavin Rawlins
11:00 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
BBL and thanks

Outlook for the remainder of hurricane season
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
822. aquak9
10:20 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
5.1 near Olancha, Ca

No depth? can't find a fault near it. Already reviewed by seismologists, kinda scared me when I looked at the USGS map and saw the big red square over south Cally.

Mostly nobody out there.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 171 Comments: 26286
821. InTheCone
10:17 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
At 5:00 p.m PhST, Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) located at 12.5ºN 129.1ºE or 440 kms east of Catarman, Northern Samar has 10 minute sustained winds of 195 km/h (105 kts) with gusts up to 230 km/h (125 kts).

WOW!! That is BAD! God hhelp all the people over there.
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1990
820. 789
10:17 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Quoting Weather456:
Good Morning all

Outlook for the remainder of hurricane season
thanks!
Member Since: July 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 262
819. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
10:09 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Philippines Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration

Typhoon "PEPENG" continues to gain more strength as it moves towards Northern Luzon.

Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #5
=======================
At 5:00 p.m PhST, Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) located at 12.5ºN 129.1ºE or 440 kms east of Catarman, Northern Samar has 10 minute sustained winds of 195 km/h (105 kts) with gusts up to 230 km/h (125 kts).

Signal Warnings
==================

Signal Warning #1 (30-60 kph winds)

Luzon Region
1.Camarines Norte
2.Camarines Sur
3.Catanduanes
4.Albay
5.Quezon
6.Polilio Island
7.Aurora

Additional Information
===========================
Residents in low-lying areas and near mountain slopes under signal #1 are advised to take all the necessary precautionary measures against possible flashfloods and landslides.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 P.M. today.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 46175
818. MisterJohnny
10:03 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Thanks for the update, 456!
817. InTheCone
10:01 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Quoting Weather456:
Good Morning all

Outlook for the remainder of hurricane season


Thanks 456, that is a fantastic read!
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1990
816. IKE
9:56 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Low of 57.7 at my house, this morning.

For What It's Worth
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
815. Cavin Rawlins
9:43 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Good Morning all

Outlook for the remainder of hurricane season
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
814. MisterJohnny
9:35 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Good Morning everyone
813. IKE
9:15 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
812. IKE
8:18 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Indonesia quake toll
soars past 400


Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
811. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:14 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #17
TYPHOON MELOR (T0918)
6:00 AM JST October 1 2009
================================

Subject: Category Three Typhoon Near Truks(Chuuk)

At 6:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Melor (955 hPa) located at 13.9N 152.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knots with gusts of 115 knots. The typhoon is reported as moving west-northwest at 7 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T5.0

Storm-Force Winds
=================
60 NM from the center

Gale-Force Winds
===============
150 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 15.0N 150.6E - 90 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
48 HRS: 16.8N 146.9E - 90 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
72 HRS: 18.7N 142.0E - 90 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 46175
810. victoriahurricane
7:10 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Quoting tornadodude:


there were two, look closely


He's right actually. They revised the 5.9 down to a 5.5
Member Since: October 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 544
809. tornadodude
7:03 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Quoting btwntx08:

i just look at it said 5.5


there were two, look closely
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
808. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
6:59 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
** WTPQ20 BABJ 010600 ***
SUBJECTIVE FORECAST
TY MELOR 0918 (0918) INITIAL TIME 010600 UTC
00HR 13.9N 152.4E 965HPA 38M/S (75 knots)
30KTS 220KM
50KTS 80KM
P12HR WNW 15KM/H
P+24HR 14.8N 150.3E 940HPA 50M/S (100 kts)
P+48HR 16.0N 146.7E 925HPA 55M/S (110 kts)
P+72HR 17.4N 142.6E 915HPA 60M/S (120 kts)
P+96HR 18.3N 139.2E 910HPA 60M/S= (120 kts)

---
Outlook looks bad.. with a capital "B"
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 46175
805. tornadodude
6:39 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Another in Samoa, man this thing has been active
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
804. tornadodude
6:35 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Quoting victoriahurricane:
This eQuake alert is really handy.


I like it a lot, Tonga just had 4.8
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
803. victoriahurricane
6:34 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
This eQuake alert is really handy.
Member Since: October 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 544
802. tornadodude
6:30 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Samoa just had a 5.9
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
801. BahaHurican
6:15 AM GMT on October 01, 2009
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

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
We've been looking at that. Mostly still wait & see, though.

Quoting xcool:


oh matt looking at snow ;)
And in the WY central basin, too, not just over the Winds and Bighorns....

Quoting tornadodude:


Tonga has had a few small ones within the last couple of hours. the latest being a 4.8
Looks like Tonga is having something volcanic... they are watching but no warnings yet. Given the extent of seismic activity along the WPac edge this week, anything could happen there....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22583

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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.