Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:35 PM GMT on November 10, 2006
The Philippines are bracing for the onslaught of their third major typhoon of the past six weeks, as Category 4 Typhoon Chebi bears down on the main island of Luzon. The Philippines have been hit particularly hard this typhoon season. Super Typhoon Cimaron made landfall October 29 as a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 160-180 mph. Cimaron killed at least 15, left 2500 homeless, and destroyed about 8% of the island's rice and corn crop. However, disaster officials called the destruction wrought by Cimaron as "minimal" compared to the destruction of devastating Typhoon Xangsane, which hit Luzon on September 27 as a Category 4 storm. Xangsane killed 218 in the Philippines, did over $100 million in damage, and left tens of thousands homeless. Xangsane went on to deliver a serious blow to Vietnam as a Category 2 typhoon, killing 70.
Figure 1. Typhoon Chebi during its explosive deepening phase at 0600 GMT November 10, 2006. Image credit: Navy Research Lab.
The amazing thing about all three of these typhoons is that they performed remarkable feats of explosive intensification, deepening from a tropical storm to a Category 4 typhoon in less than 24 hours. It's unusual to see one storm do this in a season, let alone three--and all in the same place! Chebi, which means swallow in Korean, is expected to continue to intensify today into a Super Typhoon with 150 mph winds before making landfall early Saturday morning (Philippines time). The 7am satellite intensity estimate from the NRL Navy website put Chebi's winds at 145 mph, with a central pressure of 916 mb. Chebi is the 18th Category 4 or 5 tropical cyclone to form so far this year globally; the average number of these extreme cyclones is 17 per year.
I'll have an update on Chebi Saturday.
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