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By: AstroHurricane001, 9:37 AM GMT on December 03, 2012
In Mindanao, it's just after 5 PM on December 3, 2012. Typhoon Bopha (or as PAGASA calls it, Pablo) is slowly churning toward the southern Philippine island, packing winds of over 130 mph (210 km/h). The storm has undergone a period of rapid strengthening, after forming extremely near the equator, at 4N.
Latest US Navy track map.
What typhoons have struck Mindanao in the past? As it turns out, less than a year ago, a tropical storm unleashed torrential rains that killed over 1,000 people near Iligan City. However, typhoons of this strength are not common at all on the island. Taking the difficult lessons from last year's catastrophic storm, authorities are working to avoid a repeat scenario, and have evacuated thousands. Is it enough?
A look at past storms in Mindanao
Tropical Storm Washi/SENDONG (2011) is the deadliest tropical storm on record in Mindanao.
Above: Washi 2011 track
Typhoon Ike/NITANG (1984) killed more than 1,400 people after striking the northeastern tip of Mindanao. It caused Lake Manit to overflow.
Above: Ike 1984 track
Super Typhoon Kate/TITANG (1970) struck southeastern Mindanao as a category four, and was the deadliest Philippine typhoon in history at the time. It would later hit Vietnam and create a lull in the war.
Above: Kate 1970 track
In just over 12 hours, Typhoon Bopha/PABLO is expected to make landfall in central eastern Mindanao, before tracking over the Iligan City area. The highly mountainous terrain of Mindano is very prone to landslides.
JTWC (Joint Typhoon Warning Center) text, latest:
WDPN31 PGTW 030900
MSGID/GENADMIN/JOINT TYPHOON WRNCEN PEARL HARBOR HI//
SUBJ/PROGNOSTIC REASONING FOR TYPHOON 26W (BOPHA) WARNING NR 31//
1. FOR METEOROLOGISTS.
2. 6 HOUR SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS.
TYPHOON (TY) 26W (BOPHA) LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 250 NM WEST OF
PALAU, HAS TRACKED WESTWARD AT 12 KNOTS OVER THE PAST SIX HOURS.
ANIMATED MULTISPECTRAL SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS A COMPACT, WELL
DEVELOPED, INTENSE SYSTEM THAT HAS REDEVELOPED A 10NM EYE AND HAS
OVERALL BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED IN THE PAST SIX HOURS. A MOSAIC OF
MICROWAVE IMAGERY OVER THE PAST 24 HOURS REVEAL TY 26W HAS
COMPLETED AN EYEWALL REPLACEMENT CYCLE (ERC) WHICH IS THE REASONING
FOR THE SLIGHT WEAKENING TREND SEEN IN THE PAST 12 HOURS. A 030347Z
TRMM 85 GHZ MICROWAVE IMAGE REVEALS TY 26W HAS EMERGED FROM THE ERC
AND IS BEGINNING TO REINTENSIFY. THE CURRENT INTENSITY IS BASED ON
A DVORAK ESTIMATE FROM PGTW INDICATING 115 KNOTS AND IS IN LINE
WITH THE LATEST CIMMS SATCON INTENSITY ESTIMATE OF 112 KNOTS. ALL
REPORTING AGENCIES AGREE ON THE RECENT REINTENSIFICATION. UPPER
LEVEL ANALYSIS INDICATES THE POINT-SOURCE ANTICYCLONE REMAINS WELL
ESTABLISHED AND CONTINUES TO PROVIDE AMPLE RADIAL OUTFLOW AND LOW
(05 TO 10 KNOTS) VERTICAL WIND SHEAR (VWS) OVER THE SYSTEM. TY 26W
CONTINUES TO TRACK WESTWARD ALONG THE SOUTHERN EXTENT OF THE DEEP-
LAYERED SUBTROPICAL RIDGE (STR) LOCATED TO THE NORTH.
3. FORECAST REASONING.
A. NO CHANGE TO THE FORECAST PHILOSOPHY SINCE THE PREVIOUS
PROGNOSTIC REASONING MESSAGE, ALTHOUGH THE SYSTEM IS NOW FORECASTED
TO SLOW CONSIDERABLY IN THE EXTENDED TAUS AND THE FORECASTED
INTENSITIES ARE TO REMAIN HIGHER AS TY 26W TRACKS THROUGH THE SULU
B. TY 26W IS FORECAST TO TRACK WESTWARD ALONG THE SOUTHERN
PERIPHERY OF THE STR, MAKING LANDFALL INTO THE PHILIPPINES JUST
PAST TAU 12. AFTER LANDFALL, TY 26W WILL BEGIN TO SLOW AS IT TRACKS
ALONG THE SOUTHWESTERN QUADRANT OF THE CURRENT STEERING RIDGE. THE
RECENT REORGANIZATION OF THE SYSTEM AND A FAVORABLE ENVIRONMENT
WILL ALLOW FOR FURTHER INTENSIFICATION TO 125 KNOTS PRIOR TO
LANDFALL. AFTER LANDFALL, TY 26W WILL SLOWLY WEAKEN DUE TO LAND
INTERACTION AS IT CROSSES MINDANAO AND TRACKS THROUGH THE WARM (28-
30 DEGREES CELSIUS)SULU SEA. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF JGSM, WHICH
TRACKS THE SYSTEM SLIGHTLY TO THE NORTH, DYNAMIC MODEL GUIDANCE
REMAINS IN VERY TIGHT AGREEMENT. DUE TO THIS TIGHT AGREEMENT,
FORECAST CONFIDENCE REMAINS HIGH IN THIS PORTION OF THE FORECAST
C. IN THE EXTENDED TAUS, TY 26W IS EXPECTED TO MOVE INTO THE
SOUTH CHINA SEA (SCS), SLOWING TO AN ALMOST QUASI-STATIONARY SPEED,
AS THE SYSTEM ENTERS A WEAK STEERING ENVIRONMENT IN A COL REGION
BETWEEN TWO ELONGATED LOBES OF THE STR. INCREASING VWS WILL
CONTINUE TO SLOWLY WEAKEN THE SYSTEM AS IT TRACKS THROUGH THE SCS
BUT WILL REMAIN AT TYPHOON STRENGTH WITH ONLY MINIMAL INTERACTION
NOW EXPECTED WITH THE NORTHEAST MONSOON. MODEL GUIDANCE NOW
DIVERGES IN THE EXTENDED TAUS, WHICH IS INDICATIVE OF A WEAK
STEERING ENVIRONMENT. DUE TO FORECASTED WEAK STEERING ENVIRONMENT,
THE CONFIDENCE IN THE FORECAST TRACK IN THE EXTENDED TAUS IS NOW
Get the latest from JTWC, PAGASA and JMA.
There is also the risk of lahars from the Mayon Volcano.
Bopha (Pablo) is expected to track into the South China Sea later this week, and may remain a typhoon for the next five days. Although this is a compact storm, the risk for storm surge damage in eastern Mindanao and flooding potential in northern Mindanao, Cebu, Visayas, Bohol, Iloilo and Mindoro to the southeastern peninsula of Luzon is high.
Updated: 3:43 PM GMT on December 03, 2012
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.