Thursday, November 07, 2013

Another Typhoon About To Pound Pacific Islands

The Western Pacific has been awfully active the past several weeks with several strong typhoons. The latest, and strongest of the series, is Haiyan. Haiyan is a Super Typhoon (classification given to storms with maximum winds of over 150 mph) that has winds of 170 mph according to satellite estimates. That would make Haiyan the strongest storm of the year worldwide.

And it's heading for the Philippines over the next 24-36 hours.

Haiyan will pass to the south of Luzon, the Philippines' most populated island. However, it will still produce tremendous damage and impact for several dozen islands in the chain.

Haiyan is one of the strongest storms to develop at such a southerly latitude -- only two other storms have achieved Saffir Category 5 status at lower latitudes than this storm. One of them, Bopha, impacted Mindanao in December 2012.  Loss of life and property damage are pretty much certain in its path over the next couple of days and this will likely be the big weather story globally.

This is the fifth storm to impact the Philippines this year, four of those storms of typhoon designation. See Dr. Jeff Masters' post at Wunderground for some more information.

Typhoons in the Western Pacific can occur nearly any time during the year as these ocean waters are among the warmest and have the highest tropical heat content on earth. Given the atmospheric environment around the typhoon is incredibly favorable, the storm will likely remain strong through its Philippine trek, weakening some due to land interaction. It should remain a typhoon for the next several days.