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 , 5:13 PM GMT on December 02, 2006
The terrible toll wrought by Typhoon Durian is just beginning to be known, as rescue workers in the Philippines dig out victims from mudslides that buried at least eight villages at the foot of Mayon Volcano. The volcano, a 2460 meter-high mountain known for its perfect conical shape, had large areas of loose rock from a July eruption that became loosened by Durian's 8-12 inches of rain. The loose rock turned into torrents of liquid mud that swept down the mountain in the form of deadly mudslides, burying entire villages up to their rooftops. At least 800 people are dead or missing, and the head of the Philippines Red Cross estimated on Sunday that the toll would surpass 1000. Many hard-hit areas still unreachable and cut off from communications. Durian has surpassed Tropical Storm Bilis as the deadliest tropical cyclone to affect the globe in 2006. Bilis killed 662 people in July, primarily due to flooding in China.
The Manila Bulletin Online, said that some of the mud flows were up to 100 feet deep.
Figure 1. Topographic map of the Mayon Volcano region hard-hit by Typhoon Durian. Image credit: United Nations UNOSAT project, providing free maps for the humanitarian community.
Durian has unexpectedly strengthened to a Category 2 typhoon over the South China Sea, and may yet cause some trouble when it strikes Vietnam on Monday, most likely as a Category 1 typhoon. The View from the Surface blog has more info on the latest doings of Durian.
I hope that those of you looking for charities to donate to this year will join me in donating to the Red Cross International Response Fund to help out victims of Typhoon Durian. The Philippine National Red Cross does not take on-line donations, but there is contact information posted there for those who want to donate directly to the Philippine Red Cross.
I'll be back with an update on Monday.
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