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 , 1:48 PM GMT on June 23, 2008
The year 2008 continues to be a year of the natural disaster, as the death toll from Typhoon Fengshen in the Philippines appears likely to exceed 900. At least 163 died when the Category 2 typhoon made landfall over the northern Philippines Saturday, and 807 people are missing from the ferry MV Princess of Stars, which sank during the typhoon. Only 38 survivors of the 845 people who were on the ship have been found. According to typhoon2000.com, Typhoon Fengshen will rank as at least the seventh deadliest Philippines typhoon since 1947, and may be the third deadliest by the time all the casualties are counted. The Philippines' deadliest typhoons were Typhoon Thelma of 1991 (5101 dead) and Typhoon Ike of 1984 (1363 dead).
Figure 1.Category 2 Typhoon Fengshen as it made landfall in the Philippine Islands on June 21, 2008. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.
Fengshen (the Mandarin Chinese name for the God of Wind), is the seventh named storm of the 2008 Western Pacific season, the the second to cause major loss of life. On May 17, Tropical Storm Halong made landfall on Luzon island in the Philippines. The storm caused 58 deaths and $94 million (USD) in damage, destroying 43,365 houses and damaging 188,830. All of last year's typhoons in the Western Pacific killed about 160 people, so the 2008 typhoon season is off to a very bad start. The City University of Hong Kong is predicting a slightly above average typhoon season in 2008, with 30 named storms and 19 typhoons. An average season has 27 named storms and 17 typhoons.
It's quiet in the Atlantic. There are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.
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