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Typhoon Ketsana hits Vietnam; death toll in Philippines swells to 246

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:37 PM GMT on September 29, 2009

Typhoon Ketsana slammed into Vietnam this morning as a Category 2 typhoon with 105 mph winds. Ketsana brought sustained winds of 55 mph, gusting to 71 mph to Da Nang Vietnam. Heavy rainfall amounts of 7.2" and 9.1" were observed at Da Nang, and Hue, respectively, over the past two days. Floods and landslides in Vietnam from Ketsana's heavy rains have already claimed at least 22 lives.

Figure 1. Cars being swept away by Ketsana's flood waters in Manila's Park 9 Alley, where the Barangay Hall of Loyola Heights is located. Image credit: Manuel Quezon III.

The death toll in the Philippines from Ketsana continues to rise, with 284 dead or missing. The storm flooded the homes of 1.9 million people, leaving 350,000 people homeless. Ketsana brought 16.7 inches of rain in a twelve-hour period to Manila on Saturday, which was the heaviest 1-day rainfall ever recorded in the city. Ketsana is the third deadliest deadliest tropical cyclone to affect the globe so far this year. The deadliest was Typhoon Morakot, which left 654 people dead or missing on Taiwan, when it hit the island as a Category 2 typhoon on August 7. The second deadliest was Cyclone Aila, which made landfall near the India/Bangladesh border on May 25 as a tropical storm with 70 mph winds. Aila killed at least 339 people, 149 in India and 190 in Bangladesh.

The Philippines have three more tropical cyclones to their east to keep an eye on. So far, none of these storms appear to pose a major threat. Tropical Storm Parma is expected to curve to the northwest and miss the islands, Tropical Depression 18 is expected to dissipate, and newly-formed Tropical Depression 20 will probably pass to the north of the islands.

Figure 2. Rainfall from Tropical Storm Ketsana as estimated by NASA's TRMM satellite. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

How to help Ketsana victims
Help the UN World Food Programme by making a donation. This program identifies families in specific need of aid. Just $18 provides a family with rice for two weeks. This is the most critical and immediate way you can make an impact.

Donate to the International Red Cross and help them continue to put relief workers on the ground in the Philippines.

Donate via Catholic Relief Services online of the Philippines or call 1-877-HELP-CRS.

Quiet in the Atlantic
None of the computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the Atlantic over the next seven days. Wind shear is predicted to be high in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean this week, limiting the potential for anything to affect land.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.