Hurricane and typhoon watch

There are two major hurricanes in action at the moment – Hurricane Florence weakening as it makes landfall in the eastern US, and Super Typhoon Mangkhut currently bearing down on the Philippines.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall in the northern Philippines early Saturday with maximum sustained winds of 270 kph (165 mph) and gusts as high as 325 kph (200 mph), which is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.

That’s horrendous. The wind is getting very strong here when it gets in the 120-150 kph range, but Mangkhut is twice that.

 

Al Jazeera:  Super typhoon Mangkhut makes landfall in the Philippines

Monster Typhoon Mangkhut has made landfall in the northeastern tip of the Philippines, affecting at least five million people in its path.

Mangkhut, also known as Ompong in the Philippines, made landfall at around 17:40 GMT on Friday (01:40 am Saturday, local time), according to the Philippine weather bureau, PAGASA.

It retained its ferocious strength on Friday, but gained speed while shifting towards a number of densely populated provinces, where a large evacuation was carried out earlier in the day.

The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center categorised Mangkhunt as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane.

In comparison, Hurricane Florence, which is currently lashing the US East Coast, is classified as category 1 storm.

It is packing winds of up to 205 kilometer per hour and gusts up to 255km/h, PAGASA said. But the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said maximum winds could reach 268km/h and wind gusts of up to about 324km/h.

After it passes the Philippines it will head towards Hong Kong:

In the Us Hurricane Florence wind strengths have eased substantially but widespread flooding and disruption is still expected.

Fox News: Hurricane Florence moving slowly, but ‘wreaking havoc’ across Carolinas

Slow moving and powerful Hurricane Florence is “wreaking havoc” across the Carolinas as the Category 1 storm continues to dump massive amounts of rain that could trigger catastrophic floods inland.

Once a Category 4 hurricane, a weakened but still-dangerous Florence is now making its way south along the Carolina coast at about 6 mph with sustained winds of 80 mph – pushing life-threatening storm surges miles inland, ripping down parts of buildings and knocking out power to more than a half-million homes and businesses early Friday.

The center of Florence made technical landfall at about 7:15 a.m. on Friday near Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

Florence’s storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which dropped off from an alarming 140 mph earlier in the week. Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls westward across the Carolinas all weekend.

Forecasters said the terrifying onslaught would last for several hours, because Florence was barely moving along and still drawing energy from the ocean. They said “catastrophic” freshwater flooding was expected along waterways throughout the Carolinas.

“Twenty-four to 36 hours remain of significant threat from heavy rain and heavy surge,” said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Those citizens who did not heed evacuation warnings, it’s time to stay where you are, do the best that you can to protect yourself.”


Weatherwatch: Has NZ ever experienced Cat5 winds?

In 1968 a former tropical cyclone called Giselle was tracking across the North Island.  At the same time a polar storm was racing out of the Southern Ocean.  The two collided over Wellington creating what is known as the “perfect storm”.

It was this storm that sunk the Wahine ferry in Wellington harbour as it blasted the capital with hurricane force winds.  NIWA records show winds gusted to 275km/h – which is equal to a category 5 cyclone.  Around 100 homes lost their roofs.

But the winds were very different to a cat 5 cyclone.  With a cyclone, the strong winds are generated around the eye of the storm over open water.  In this case it was the merger of the two systems and Wellington’s localised topography that created the incredible winds – and they only existed as this strength in one part of Wellington.

It was the first and only time winds of that speed were recorded in New Zealand.

But from a NIWA employee:

The 275 km/h is a reference to a 3-s gust speed from a Munro anemometer located at Oteranga Bay during the storm. I’ve always understood that this reading was highly questionable due to an issue with the anemometer at that site at the time of the storm. I’ve double-checked with Steve Reid (retired employee of NIWA and before 1992 MetService) who was the wind-expert at both institutions for several decades. He had in the past checked the instrument file for Oteranga Bay and noted that the next technical visit to the site after the Wahine storm had remarks that a “substitution resistor was missing from the installation” and this would result in speeds 25% too high.  The resistor was used in installations where no dial was in the circuit. For this reason, the observation is highly questionable at best, and should not really be accepted as a record.  – NIWA

That would make the maximum gust closer to 200 km/h, still very strong but nothing like Mangkhut.

Leave a comment

6 Comments

  1. Holy hell – and it may well feel like hell in winds like that.

    The wind is getting very strong here when it gets in the 120-150 kph range, but Mangkhut is twice that.

    Reply
  2. Less dramatic than predicted but it could end up being very damaging regardless.

    Reply
  3. Reply
  4. Reply
    • Gezza

       /  September 16, 2018

      Aljaz tv’s weatherman late last night did an in-depth explanation of what’s going on with supertyphoon Mangkhut. It’s bloody massive. The mountains of Luzon stripped some of the power out of it (alhough its downpours have caused massive landslides & the kind of devastation you’s expect – to poor communities that have only just started to recover from the last one two years ago – but it was heading out into the South China Sea for Southern China, where currently very high temperatures were expected to feed it again & the Chinese were bracing for storm surge, wind destruction & flooding havoc. Haven’t checked for the latest update yet.

      Reply

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