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 , 12:58 PM GMT on December 10, 2006
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off last night in a rare and impressive nighttime launch, beating the weather forecast that called for only a 30% chance of success. Wunderblogger Mike Theiss took some fantastic photos of the event.
Yet another typhoon for the Philippines
Typhoon Utor (called Seniang in the Philippines) became the 5th major typhoon to hit the storm-weary Philippines this season, when it intensified suddenly last night from a Category 1 to a Category 3 typhoon (Utor is the Marshallese word for a squall line). The storm put on the burst of intensification as it approached San Jose on Mindoro Island, where the pressure dropped to 985 mb and top winds of 50 mph were recorded. There are no damage reports from this hardest-hit island yet, but Utor killed 3 and left 3 missing when it initially came ashore as a Category 1 typhoon in eastern Samar province at noon Saturday. Utor brought much less rain than its predecessor, Super Typhon Durian. Rainfall estimates from Utor (Figure 1) were in the 4-6 inch range for a 24 hour period. Durian dumped up to 10 inches in 24 hours. It is unlikely that the rains of Utor caused significant loss of life due to major mudslides and flash floods, but many more Philippinos will join the ranks of the 300,000 left homeless by Super Typhoon Durian. Utor did not trigger new mudslides along the flanks of the Mayon Volcano where over 1,000 people died in Super Typhoon Durian. Utor may intensify now that it is over the warm, open waters of the South China Sea. The typhoon is expected to turn north and threaten China and Taiwan later this week. NOAA has some nice satellite imagery of the storm at their West Pacific floater imagery page.
Figure 1. Rainfall estimates for Typhoon Utor from NOAA.
Super Typhoon Durian left 1339 dead or missing the Philippines, injured 2000, destroyed 118,000 homes, and damaged 212,000 homes. In Vietnam, Durian killed 89, injured 1370, destroyed 35,000 homes, and damaged another 182,000 homes. Total damage was estimated at about $31 million in the Philippines.
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