Tag Archives: Philippines Sea

It is the Philippines…again in 2014!

Based on the historical record the far northwestern Pacific ocean is by far the most active cyclogenesis basin on Earth. Including the Philippines Sea, the South China Sea, the Yellow Sea, and the balance of the northwestern Pacific region consistently generates the largest number of tropical cyclones on an annual basis.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) of 18 September 2014 showing tropical storm FUNG-WONG over the northern Philippines
Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) of 18 September 2014 showing tropical storm FUNG-WONG over the northern Philippines

Smack in the middle of this region sits the archipelago of the Philippines, making it the most hurricane-vulnerable country in the world. Just last week the northern Philippines were hit by typhoon Kalmaegi, and no sooner had affected communities assessed their damage and initiated recovery efforts than a new storm, Fung-Wong began battering much of the same region. Even more worrisome is the large cell of disturbed weather that is currently following in Fung-Wong footsteps aiming in the same general direction of the Philippines.

Projected track for tropical storm Fung-Wong (by the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory based on NOAA data)
Projected track for tropical storm Fung-Wong (by the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory based on NOAA data)

Many will remember super-typhoon Haiyan, named Yolanda by Philippine authorities, which hit dead-on in the middle of the Philippines Islands in November 2013 as the strongest tropical cyclone of record anywhere, causing upward of 6,200 death and more than US$ 3.0 billion in physical damage.

In the past ten years alone, since 2004, the Philippines have sustained at least nine major typhoon hits, which have left more than 15,000 deaths in their wake, and billion of U.S. dollars in damage  In addition this nations had seen many times that number in terms of impacts by weaker storms.  On the average the Philippines are hit by tropical cyclones 6 – 9 times per year, with most of those hits taking place in the northern regions of the country.

A characteristic of tropical cyclones generated in this region, and of those affecting the Philippines, is that they generally are rather “wet storms” meaning that they generated vast amounts of rain. As a result flooding, from flash floods in mountainous terrain, river overtopping their banks, and from storm surge, is a major damaging component and contributor to the death toll.

JULY 5, 2014: Plenty of Cyclonic Activity!

This morning of Saturday 5 July 2014 we awaken to plenty of cyclonic activity around the world.

Visible light satellite image (NASA) of Tropical Storm ARTHUR during the morning hours of Saturday 5 July 2014
Visible light satellite image (NASA) of Tropical Storm ARTHUR during the morning hours of Saturday 5 July 2014

ARTHUR has  now degraded to a still strong tropical storm  while dumping lots of rain over the northeastern USA and eastern Canada as it continues to track toward the northeast. The storm is getting quite disorganized, and it presents a ragged appearance in satellite imagery. The heaviest and largest area of precipitation is to the northwest of the center of circulation.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) of 5 July 2014 showing Tropical Storm ARTHUR over the USA northeast and eastern Canada, as well as 'Hurricane Alley' just to the north of the equator
Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) of 5 July 2014 showing Tropical Storm ARTHUR over the USA northeast and eastern Canada, as well as ‘Hurricane Alley’ just to the north of the equator

Also in the Atlantic basin we see ‘Hurricane Alley’ populated by a string of storms generated by tropical waves on their way from Equatorial Africa toward northern South America and the Caribbean.

On the other side of the continent, over the eastern Pacific we still have what is now a weak tropical storm DOUGLAS tracking northwest. To the southeast of DOUGLAS there are several cells of disturbed weather off the coast from Panama to Central America and southern Mexico.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) taken during the night of 5 July 2014 showing a weakening Tropical Storm DOUGLAS tracking NW away from Mexico
Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) taken during the night of 5 July 2014 showing a weakening Tropical Storm DOUGLAS tracking NW away from Mexico
Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) of 5 July 2014 showing Typhoon NEOGURI as it tracks NW over the Philippines Sea
Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) of 5 July 2014 showing Typhoon NEOGURI as it tracks NW over the Philippines Sea

Thousand of kilometers to the west of DOUGLAS, in the northwestern Pacific over the Philippines Sea we can see a strong Typhoon NEOGURI tracking NW over a rather favorable ocean-atmosphere environment, which will most probably cause it to strengthen possible to a category 5 0ver the next 48 – 72 hours.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) of 5 Julky 2014 showing a well defined low pressure system with cyclonic characteristics in the central/southern Indian Ocean
Color-enhanced infrared satellite image (NOAA) of 5 July 2014 showing a well-defined low pressure system with cyclonic characteristics in the central/southern Indian Ocean

Last, but not least, there is a strong tropical wave over the Indian Ocean south of the equator that is showing cyclonic characteristics and may warrant further observation.

While not record-breaking this is quite a ‘cyclonic day’ in Planet Earth!