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Theodore Smith
Theodore Smith

Tropical Storm YOLANDA Advisory ((HOT))

\nAdding to the complexity of this response, another tropical storm is expected to hit the Philippines later this week. Foreign governments and international aid agencies have already pledged support in the form of air transportation and equipment, but more help is urgently needed to save the lives of the survivors.

Tropical Storm YOLANDA Advisory

Adding to the complexity of this response, another tropical storm is expected to hit the Philippines later this week. Foreign governments and international aid agencies have already pledged support in the form of air transportation and equipment, but more help is urgently needed to save the lives of the survivors.

On November 8, Yolanda hit the Philippines with winds of 195 mph, and has been described as the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded history. It made six landfalls: 1) Guiuan, Eastern Samar at 4:40 am of November 8; 2) Tolosa, Leyte at 7 am; 3) Daang Bantayan, Cebu at 10 am; 4) Bantayan Island, Cebu at 10:40 am; 5) Concepcion, Iloilo at 12 noon; and 6) Busuanga, Palawan around 8 pm. Yolanda was accompanied by monstrous winds that uprooted trees and tore roofs off buildings, while storm surges as high as 10-20 feet smashed into coastal communities.

Professor Thomas Schroeder (Ret.) has been with the University of Hawaii since 1974. Before his retirement from the University of Hawaii, Dr. Schroeder directed the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research and had served four separate terms as chair of the Department of Meteorology. Dr. Schroeder also co-founded the Pacific ENSO Applications Center; has served on the Hawaii Hurricane Advisory Committee; and has chaired the national committees for both the American Meteorological Society and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. He has served as a consultant on hurricane risk modeling to the states of Florida and Hawaii and been recognized as a distinguished alumnus of the Purdue University School of Science. Dr. Schroeder will be providing insights on the potential impacts of climate change on the intensity of future tropical storms.

The Philippines typically average eight to nine storms per year, so activity has been slightly below average. However, the overall Western Pacific Typhoon season has been very active, especially north of the Philippines. So far in 2013, we have seen 28 named storms. The last time we had this much activity was back in 2004, when we recorded 32 named storms. In general, the Western Pacific is an area likely to spawn some of the strongest tropical cyclones in the world.

By any measure, Super Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most extraordinary tropical cyclones in world history. Tropical cyclones rarely reach Category 5 strength, when wind speeds exceed 155 mph. In fact, an average of just four Category 5 storms occur globally each year. But as Haiyan hurtled westwards towards the Philippines across the warm waters of the West Pacific Ocean during the first week of November 2013, the storm fed off the deepest region of warm waters anywhere on the planet, rapidly intensifying into a Category 5 storm.

Tropical cyclones need surface water temperatures of at least 26.5 C to maintain themselves. The warmer the water, and the deeper the warm water is, the stronger the storm can get. Deep warm water is key. As a tropical cyclone moves over the ocean, it stirs up cooler water from the depths, which can reduce the intensity of the storm.

Pete Troilo, Devex director of global advisory and analysis and also on the ground in Cebu to monitor the relief efforts, noted victims expressed frustration over the fact they were not aware of the potential consequences of a storm surge.

The category five storm - which has also been called Yolanda in the Philippines - is reported to have had speeds at landfall of 195mph and gusts of up to 235mph, meaning that it is believed to be stronger than the world's last strongest tropical cyclone, hurricane Camille, which was recorded as making landfall in Mississippi with 190 mph winds in 1969. The Guardian's south-east Asia correspondent, Kate Hodal, writes today:

Three hours before landfall, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) assessed Haiyan's sustained winds at 195 mph, gusting to 235 mph, making it the 4th strongest tropical cyclone in world history. Satellite loops show that Haiyan weakened only slightly, if at all, in the two hours after JTWC's advisory, so the super typhoon likely made landfall with winds near 195 mph.

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (aka Yolanda), the strongest tropical storm ever recorded on the planet, plummeted parts of the Philippines, leaving massive destruction mostly from giant sea waves blown by the strong wind that swept communities, killing between 6,000 and 10,000 people. The typhoon tore through Tacloban City, in the province of Leyte, and affected about 13 million people (Chan, Liu, & Hung, 2013)1. The Philippines, an archipelago, is composed of more than 7,000 islands, and the communities affected by the devastation are interspersed in islands separated by bodies of water, making mediated communications necessary but also fragile during disasters. The powerful storm knocked down power and phone lines, and the geography made communication in the affected areas extremely difficult. Some 10 percent of Filipinos also live outside the country, and many overseas Filipinos had to rely on social media to monitor the situation in their home communities and keep in touch with their loved ones.

The sea waters are very much above the normal long-term average through late October. Nearly 2 degrees Celsius warmer, even 3 C above the average in some areas of the Western Pacific tropical region. This means that the oceanic conditions are beyond exceptional and that is why these conditions have helped Typhoon Goni to become a very violent storm.

There was also a pinhole eye appearing on different satellite channels earlier on Friday, which is a typical sign that an explosive burst of storms is developing a very intense tropical system. On early Saturday, Goni has undergone an Eyewall Replacement Cycle (EWRC) and its eye had double the size after it was completed.

Its tropical-storm-force 50-knot winds are spread across the 80-100 mile radii around the eye. While Goni also has around 40-70 radii of hurricane-force 64-knot winds. The wind field is expanding and strengthening.

The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the largest and most dominant source of short-term tropical variability, it is an eastward-moving wave of thunderstorms, clouds, rain, winds, and pressure. It circles the entire planet on the equator in about 30 to 60 days.

Typhoon Haiyan (or Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines) is one of the strongest tropical cyclones in history. It formed on November 2, 2013, in the western Pacific Ocean. It began east-southeast of Pohnpei. The storm later hit the Philippines with extremely high winds and a strong storm surge. It has caused major damage in the Visayas. Hundreds of people have died in the storm. The director of Meteorology at Weather Underground, Jeff Masters, said this could be the strongest tropical system to reach land. Haiyan's winds were near 195 miles an hour.


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