At least 370 dead from Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:21 PM GMT on December 05, 2012

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The death toll in the Philippines from Typhoon Bopha has risen to at 370, with hundreds more missing. Bopha (called "Pablo" in the Philippines), slammed ashore on the Philippine island of Mindanao at 4:45 am local time on Tuesday morning as a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds. Bopha is only Category 5 typhoon on record to make landfall on Mindanao, which rarely sees strong typhoons due to its position close to the Equator. Most of the deaths occurred in the gold-rush mountain towns of New Bataan and Monkayo due to typhoon-spawned landslides and flash floods. According to an op-ed published at sunstar.com, much of the death toll can be blamed on the fact that deforestation has reduced forest cover on Mindanao to just 10%, which allows more dangerous flash floods to occur. Passage over land has weakened Bopha to a Category 1 storm today, and the typhoon is now far enough from the Philippines that it no long poses a heavy rain threat. The island of Mindanao is highly vulnerable to flood disasters from tropical cyclones; last year's Tropical Storm Washi, which hit Mindanao on December 16, 2011 with 60 mph winds and torrential rains, killed over 1200 people. Before hitting the Philippines, Typhoon Bopha brought a storm surge estimated at ten feet to the island nation of Palau, where near-total destruction is being reported in some coastal areas.


Figure 1. Super Typhoon Bopha as seen from the International Space Station on December 2, 2012. At the time, Bopha had top sustained winds of 150 - 155 mph. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. The devastation brought about by powerful Typhoon Bopha is seen at Montevista township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines Wednesday Dec. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Extreme damage on Mindanao
Category 5 storms make landfall only once every few years somewhere in the world, and the damage they cause is invariably extreme and dramatic. According to a story at inquirer.net, a 10-hectare plantation of coconut trees in the town of Baganga, Davao Oriental, were all felled. It's takes some pretty extreme winds to bring down coconut trees, which commonly are the only things still standing after passage of a major hurricane or typhoon. Damage surveys from Tropical Cyclone Larry, which made landfall in 2006 in Australia as a Category 4 storm, indicated that coconut trees were able to withstand wind gusts of 135 mph, but toppled when the gusts reached 145 mph (thanks go to Dr. Bruce Buckley of the Reinsurance Group Australia for this info.) Aerial damage surveys from Mindanao (Video 1) show very heavy damage near where the eye came ashore, due to extreme winds and high storm surge.


Video 1. An aerial survey of damage near where the eye of Typhoon Bopha made landfall in Davao Oriental province on Mindanao Island in the Philippines shows widespread severe damage, bordering on catastrophic.

The International Red Cross is accepting donations for typhoon relief in the Philippines.

Jeff Masters

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Seriously bad situation for the Philippines, Bopha was a monster, a 160-175mph Category 5 landfall is always a bad situation. My thoughts go out to them

On another weather note, does anything think it will ever get cold in Florida? Quite a shift from the previous few forecasts 6 days ago.


The three month outlook though *looks* somewhat promising, maybe we'll get below 60 for a low for once.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
I'm not trying to sidetrack the thread into a discussion of religion. I'm just saying that when there's an official evacuation recommendation or order given, it's time to pocket your prayer beads, snuff your veladoras, cease your genuflecting, and start heading out PDQ. It's not the time for deisidaimonia, you know?


I may not agree with you most of the time, but I LOLed at this one.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


I didn't say don't pray? God would want people to be smart and evacuate...
i think you might be over-reactionary to Nea's posts. it's not a personal one-upsmanship thing happening.. not from my perspective. looks more like you get yourself tangled in his lines, versus hooking any kind of 'bait'.. know what i mean?
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Awful, it looks like where I live in NJ, I feel bad from them!
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Quoting Jedkins01:


I didn't say don't pray? God would want people to be smart and evacuate...

Believing in superstition implies there is some magical hold over the area, that is keeping storms from hitting. It doesn't have anything to do with prayer.

If someone prayed for a hurricane to not hit, but had all the heathly and ability to leave and was in an evacuation zone, well that's just foolish and not very smart, that's like me jumping off a cliff and praying to God to save me...
I'm not trying to sidetrack the thread into a discussion of religion. I'm just saying that when there's an official evacuation recommendation or order given, it's time to pocket your prayer beads, snuff your veladoras, cease your genuflecting, and start heading out PDQ. It's not the time for deisidaimonia, you know?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Breaking: NHC Modifies Hurricane Warning Definition in Wake of Sandy


Good.

An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, sub-tropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.
"The main issue is: we want people to get ready for hurricane conditions, and that's why we are changing the definition of hurricane warning to be a little more inclusive of other things than just a hurricane," Chris Landsea, Science and Operations Officer at the National Hurricane Center, told AccuWeather.com.
Additionally, the NHC eventually plans to begin differentiating between wind hazards and storm surge hazards.




I've been hoping for this for several years.


Both Sandy and Isaac gave obvious reasons why the rigid classification systems by wind speed was not sufficient to provide adequate, common sense warnings for these storms which don't follow "typical" rules of size or technical classification.


There's no way they could have know the surge would be quite so bad, but I think both Isaac and Sandy really needed category 3 equivalent surge warnings (on the old table,) in a language that the public would understand and react to, in order to save lives.


I'm hoping this will result in a two-tiered warning system, such as a hyphenated system or something similar.

Isaac and Sandy both should have reasonably been warned as a "category 1-3 hurricane" in a hyphenated system. Which means category 3 equivalent storm surge is expected in spite of only having category 1 equivalent winds.

This idea might not be perfect, but at least it translates a little more intuitively than just saying it's a "big category 1".

We have the computer modeling technology to do a better job of this, which they already do for scientific reasons. They just need to make a more understandable system for communicating it to the "average Joe" in a fair and common sense way.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
over 300 dead,many thousands homeless,prayers for these people indeed....support the charities folks
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting LargoFl:
and if a cat4-5 came here, we dont have any mountains to slow or weaken it any..complete destruction from coast to coast whew..we have been very lucky so far..then again the storms in the pacific are bigger and meaner


Actually, they are the same type of low pressure storm as a hurricane, the physics on that side of the world is the same as here or anywhere in the Universe. The difference is that in the western Pacific, there are frequently more tropical cyclones of higher intensity or larger size or both, than on this side of the world. But a160 mph category 5 here poses the same threat as a 160 mph 5 over there does.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:


Hurricane Warning: Winds substained 75 MPH expected.

Thats how it SHOULD be done!
well when the NHC handed over the reins to the NWS..the NWS does not have..a hurricane warning..........which needs to be changed indeed
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting RTSplayer:


At Tampa Bay you really should evacuate even for a large, slow moving cat 1 (like Isaac) if you would be in the right front quadrant.

I wouldn't stay in Tampa Bay for anything above 75mph if it was going to get the right front quadrant, even if it was a very small system.

I've seen too many computer models on TWC and History Channel to know better.
yeah i watch the tracks very closely each season and if one does come directly into tampa bay..i might just leave and come back later on..a cat-1 wouldnt do too much damage here..some roofing material off etc..ive seen 65 mph winds in my lifetime..pretty strong they are sustained i mean
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting Neapolitan:
That definitely seems like a huge step in the right direction...Indeed. Save your praying for Sunday School; when a valid warning is announced, go. Period.


I didn't say don't pray? God would want people to be smart and evacuate...

Believing in superstition implies there is some magical hold over the area, that is keeping storms from hitting. It doesn't have anything to do with prayer.

If someone prayed for a hurricane to not hit, but had all the heathly and ability to leave and was in an evacuation zone, well that's just foolish and not very smart, that's like me jumping off a cliff and praying to God to save me...
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Hey Largo, out of all the hurricanes and tropical storms youve been through, which one was your favorite?
well charley came the closest i think..although one year i was driving back from orlando, and some tropical storm was crossing central florida..i went under an overpass..and when i came out the wind hit me and knocked me sheer into the left lane..wow was i scared..came out of no where..but so far ive been very lucky, almost all the storms have gone somewhere else.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting LargoFl:
after seeing that..if a cat4 or 5 comes towards tampa bay..im on I-75 headed north..no use living thru that kind of destruction


At Tampa Bay you really should evacuate even for a large, slow moving cat 1 (like Isaac) if you would be in the right front quadrant.

I wouldn't stay in Tampa Bay for anything above 75mph if it was going to get the right front quadrant, even if it was a very small system.

I've seen too many computer models on TWC and History Channel to know better.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting LargoFl:
yep..they screwed that up..NHC and the NWS...somehow with a Bad storm like that..rules need to be thrown out and a REAL warning needs to be given


Hurricane Warning: Winds substained 75 MPH expected.

Thats how it SHOULD be done!
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Quoting FunnelVortex:


Pffffft, high wind warning my arse!
yep..they screwed that up..NHC and the NWS...somehow with a Bad storm like that..rules need to be thrown out and a REAL warning needs to be given
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Breaking: NHC Modifies Hurricane Warning Definition in Wake of Sandy
That definitely seems like a huge step in the right direction...
Quoting Jedkins01:
Too many people believe in superstition...
Indeed. Save your praying for Sunday School and saying grace before supper; when a valid warning is announced, go. Period.
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Quoting LargoFl:
..kind of figured they would be doing that..seeing how screwed up the warnings were up there


Pffffft, high wind warning my arse!
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Hey Largo, out of all the hurricanes and tropical storms youve been through, which one was your favorite?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Breaking: NHC Modifies Hurricane Warning Definition in Wake of Sandy
..kind of figured they would be doing that..seeing how screwed up the warnings were up there
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting Jedkins01:



Indeed, I heard even more people said they would stay since the forecast was wrong about Charley, which makes absolutely no sense to me. Because Charley coming that close and doing that kind of damage reminds me why I would not stay!

Too many people believe in superstition and "luck". Furthermore, isn't it worth a little extra effort to leave to escape that kind of destruction even if it doesn't hit? Why is our culture so resistant to putting in effort, to the point of risking their lives and mental sanity for the sake of simply "not wanting to bother".
and if a cat4-5 came here, we dont have any mountains to slow or weaken it any..complete destruction from coast to coast whew..we have been very lucky so far..then again the storms in the pacific are bigger and meaner
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
a stray shower to the south..not a drop here grrr....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting LargoFl:
I am with you on that..and your right..so many would be saying..they dont come here and would stay



Indeed, I heard even more people said they would stay since the forecast was wrong about Charley, which makes absolutely no sense to me. Because Charley coming that close and doing that kind of damage reminds me why I would not stay!

Too many people believe in superstition and "luck". Furthermore, isn't it worth a little extra effort to leave to escape that kind of destruction even if it doesn't hit? Why is our culture so resistant to putting in effort, to the point of risking their lives and mental sanity for the sake of simply "not wanting to bother".
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nice day for our friends in Texas.............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting JazzChi:
Why the heck is Reuters (who should know better) still reporting this as a Cat 1 storm?

"Typhoon Bopha, with central winds of 120 kph (75 mph) and gusts of up to 150 kph (93 mph), battered beach resorts and dive spots on Palawan island on Wednesday but it was weakening as it moved west."

http://news.yahoo.com/philippines-biggest-typhoon -kills-least-82-many-buried-041047352.html

Wouldn't the pictures of demolished villages and palms snapped like twigs clue them in that this was just a TOUCH more than that?!?


He must be confusing MPH and KPH...
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Quoting Jedkins01:



I completely agree, if a storm of that power hits Tampa Bay, I'm afraid too many would stay and at least several hundred people would die or more... This area would get completely shredded. Let's hope we continue on the streak of avoiding such intensity of storms.
I am with you on that..and your right..so many would be saying..they dont come here and would stay
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting LargoFl:
after seeing that..if a cat4 or 5 comes towards tampa bay..im on I-75 headed north..no use living thru that kind of destruction



I completely agree, if a storm of that power hits Tampa Bay, I'm afraid too many would stay and at least several hundred people would die or more... This area would get completely shredded. Let's hope we continue on the streak of avoiding such intensity of storms.

Sadly this will get very little if any national media coverage just because its the Philippines and not the U.S. or western Europe. Yet they are people just like us, really sad.
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Quoting barbamz:


This was right concerning the island of Palawan which is very much to the west and the last station which has been hit by at that time much weakened typhoon Bopha.


Ah, got it. But why no mention of the strength at landfall? I know land stations were likely demolished, but an idea of the satellite estimate would at least give the reader some idea of what happened.
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this from CNN........Tens of thousands of people were left homeless after Typhoon Bopha raked the large southern island of Mindanao with heavy rains and sustained winds of up to 175 kph (110 mph).

The storm wiped out the mountain village of Baculin and killed at least half of the residents of nearby Kinablangan, the official Philippines News Agency reported Wednesday.

Bopha also severely damaged almost all of the homes in the villages of Boston, Cateel and Baganga, Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon told PNA.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting JazzChi:
Why the heck is Reuters (who should know better) still reporting this as a Cat 1 storm?

"Typhoon Bopha, with central winds of 120 kph (75 mph) and gusts of up to 150 kph (93 mph), battered beach resorts and dive spots on Palawan island on Wednesday but it was weakening as it moved west."

http://news.yahoo.com/philippines-biggest-typhoon -kills-least-82-many-buried-041047352.html

Wouldn't the pictures of demolished villages and palms snapped like twigs clue them in that this was just a TOUCH more than that?!?


This was right concerning the island of Palawan which is very much to the west and the last station which has been hit by at that time much weakened typhoon Bopha.

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did they find those national guard guys that vanished in the flood waters?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting Jedkins01:
My gosh, the damage in that video is brutal, it looks like an EF4 tornado tore through the whole landscape...
after seeing that..if a cat4 or 5 comes towards tampa bay..im on I-75 headed north..no use living thru that kind of destruction
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
My gosh, the damage in that video is brutal, it looks like an EF4 tornado tore through the whole landscape...
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Thanks Dr. Masters, and - sigh - numbers of death and destruction are rising and rising.
I didn't expect it in this high range (and I really don't hope the scale of Washi will be met!) given all the evacuations before. But it's always the same (with tsunamis, earthquakes, destructive storms ...): at first no or few casualties are reported and there is some relief. But usually the areas which are hit very hard won't be able to report any damage or aren't accessible for many hours and even days. Then the picture turns. BTW still no news at all from the southern islands of Palau where Bopha first hit. Wonder what that means ...

322 dead, hundreds missing due to 'Pablo'

by Ted Aljibe, Agence France-Presse
Posted at 12/05/2012 6:50 PM | Updated as of 12/06/2012 1:23 AM
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12. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting JazzChi:
Why the heck is Reuters (who should know better) still reporting this as a Cat 1 storm?

"Typhoon Bopha, with central winds of 120 kph (75 mph) and gusts of up to 150 kph (93 mph), battered beach resorts and dive spots on Palawan island on Wednesday but it was weakening as it moved west."

http://news.yahoo.com/philippines-biggest-typhoon -kills-least-82-many-buried-041047352.html

Wouldn't the pictures of demolished villages and palms snapped like twigs clue them in that this was just a TOUCH more than that?!?


the story is on the current strength of Bopha ..
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Why the heck is Reuters (who should know better) still reporting this as a Cat 1 storm?

"Typhoon Bopha, with central winds of 120 kph (75 mph) and gusts of up to 150 kph (93 mph), battered beach resorts and dive spots on Palawan island on Wednesday but it was weakening as it moved west."

http://news.yahoo.com/philippines-biggest-typhoon -kills-least-82-many-buried-041047352.html

Wouldn't the pictures of demolished villages and palms snapped like twigs clue them in that this was just a TOUCH more than that?!?
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Thank you Dr. Masters.... Prayers to all affected
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Thanks Dr. Masters.
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Thanks Dr Masters...
It really was a big storm...long time before we see another like it so close to the equator to hit mindanao and places around there like that.
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Thanks Dr Masters. Unbelievable damage and I'm afraid the death toll will go higher. So very sad
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Thanks Dr. Masters.

This is turning out to be just as deadly and destructive as feared, unfortunately.
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Those poor people live very modest to begin with and my heart goes out to all of them!
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Thanks Dr Masters
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Thanks Doc!!


It's Sad .very sad
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i wish this would be the last updated figure; sadly unlikely. prayers for those struggling with Bopha
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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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