Heavy rains and huge waves are already pounding the Philippines and over half a million people have been evacuated
as Super Typhoon Hagupit
closes in on the storm-weary islands. Hagupit briefly fell below the 150 mph wind threshold needed to maintain its "Super Typhoon" designation on Thursday, but is intensifying once again. At 9 am EST Friday, Hagupit was a very dangerous Category 4 super typhoon with 150 mph winds and a central pressure of 915 mb
. Hagupit--Filipino for "Smash"--exploded into a mighty Category 5 storm with 180 mph winds and a central pressure of 905 mb
on Wednesday, but weakened on Thursday due to moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, plus an eyewall replacement cycle that caused the inner eyewall to collapse and be replaced by an outer eyewall with a larger diameter. An eyewall replacement cycle often causes a temporary weakening of a tropical cyclone, followed by a re-strengthening as the storm consolidates around its new eyewall. That appears to be the case with Hagupit, which microwave satellite images show has now finished its eyewall replacement cycle. Satellite loops
showed that the typhoon had a larger 17-mile diameter eye surrounded by very intense eyewall thunderstorms that were expanding in areal coverage and intensity early Friday morning (U.S. time). However, this intensification process had halted by late Friday morning. Hagupit is over warm ocean waters of 29°C (84°F) and is under moderate wind shear of 15 knots. The eyewall is not as intense on the south side, due to shearing action of strong upper-level winds from the southeast. Figure 1.
Visible (top) and infrared (bottom) VIIRS images of Super Typhoon Hagupit from the Suomi satellite at 04:40 UTC December 4, 2014. At the time, Hagupit was a peak-strength Category 5 storm with 180 mph winds. Image credit: Dan Lindsey, NOAA/NESDIS/CIRA/Colorado State.Forecast for Hagupit: not as bad as Haiyan, but still devastating
Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on November 7, 2013 in Samar Island in the Philippines as the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone ever rated by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center--winds of 190 mph. Haiyan left 7,300 people dead or missing in the Philippines, destroying about 1 million houses and displacing some 4 million people. Leyte Island's city of Tacloban (population 200,000) suffered the greatest casualties, thanks to a 20+’ storm surge. With warm waters and moderate wind shear expected until landfall, but with increasing interaction with land, Hagupit will likely be a Category 4 storm with sustained winds between 135 - 155 mph at landfall. This is far weaker than Haiyan was, but no cause for celebration. Extreme damaging winds, a large and deadly storm surge, and torrential rains causing massive flooding and dangerous mudslides are all of great concern from Hagupit. Wind damage and storm surge damage are primarily of concern on Samar Island, which is likely to receive a direct hit from the eyewall of the powerful storm; Hagupit will likely make landfall about 50 - 100 miles north of where Haiyan hit last year. However, the greatest danger from the storm might be its rains. Hagupit will move very slowly though the Philippines at about 5 - 10 mph, which will allow torrential rains to fall for a long period of time. Widespread rainfall amounts of 10 - 15 inches can be expected, with some areas receiving 15 - 25 inches. Since Hagupit is likely to track very close to the capital city of Manila as a strong tropical storm or weak Category 1 typhoon, heavy rains will affect the most heavily populated part the country. In addition, Special lahar warnings
have been put out for mudslides along the flanks of two volcanoes along Hagupit's path, Mayan and Bulusan, whose flanks have unstable ash deposits from recent eruptions.Figure 3.
Predicted precipitation from Super Typhoon Hagupit from the 06 UTC Friday run of the GFDL hurricane model. Widespread areas of 8 - 16" (yellow colors), with some areas of 16+ inches were predicted. Image credit: NOAA/GFDL.Links
Storm chaser James Reynolds is in the Philippines, and reported on Friday morning (U.S. time) that high waves were already pounding the east coast of Samar, lapping at roads and houses. He will will be offering updates from Western Samar via his Twitter feed.
Storm surge expert Hal Needham has a new blog post: The Philippines Has a History of Catastrophic, Fast-Moving Storm Surges.Matching donation challenge: Portlight's "Giving Tuesday and Beyond" campaign
disaster relief charity, founded and staffed by members of the wunderground community, has launched a month-long fundraising campaign called "Giving Tuesday and Beyond"
. They aim to raise $20,000 this month. I challenge the wunderground community to show their generosity this giving season: for each dollar donated between now and Monday, I pledge to make a matching donation.
Here’s a sampling of what the money will go towards in 2015:
- Holding more Getting It Right conferences, starting in Hampton Roads, Virginia, in late February.
- Launching a traveling photo exhibit – “Disastrous: Left Behind” – in the lobby of FEMA’s headquarters in late January, with many more venues to follow around the country.
- Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ADA on July 26th, 2015.
- Continuing to streamline their disaster response process in order to immediately respond better, faster, and smarter.
Portlight Strategies’ mission is to provide disaster services to the disability community, and to foster inclusive disaster planning and response for people with all types of disabilities. You can donate at the "Giving Tuesday and Beyond"
campaign page. As always, you can visit the Portlight Blog
or Portlight website
to stay current on their latest efforts.