Image of Super Typhoon Hagupit from the Suomi satellite at 04:40 UTC on 4 December 2014. At the time, Hagupit was a peak-strength Category 5 storm with 180 mph winds. Photo: Dan Lindsey / NOAA/NESDIS/CIRA/Colorado State

By Dr. Jeff Masters  
5 December 2014

( – Heavy rains and huge waves are already pounding the Philippines and over half a million people have been evacuated as Super Typhoon Hagupit closes in on the storm-weary islands. Hagupit briefly fell below the 150 mph wind threshold needed to maintain its "Super Typhoon" designation on Thursday, but is intensifying once again. At 9 am EST Friday, Hagupit was a very dangerous Category 4 super typhoon with 150 mph winds and a central pressure of 915 mb. Hagupit – Filipino for "Smash" – exploded into a mighty Category 5 storm with 180 mph winds and a central pressure of 905 mb on Wednesday, but weakened on Thursday due to moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, plus an eyewall replacement cycle that caused the inner eyewall to collapse and be replaced by an outer eyewall with a larger diameter. […]

Forecast for Hagupit: not as bad as Haiyan, but still devastating

Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on 7 November 2013 in Samar Island in the Philippines as the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone ever rated by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center – winds of 190 mph. Haiyan left 7,300 people dead or missing in the Philippines, destroying about 1 million houses and displacing some 4 million people. Leyte Island's city of Tacloban (population 200,000) suffered the greatest casualties, thanks to a 20+’ storm surge. With warm waters and moderate wind shear expected until landfall, but with increasing interaction with land, Hagupit will likely be a Category 4 storm with sustained winds between 135 - 155 mph at landfall.

This is far weaker than Haiyan was, but no cause for celebration. Extreme damaging winds, a large and deadly storm surge, and torrential rains causing massive flooding and dangerous mudslides are all of great concern from Hagupit. Wind damage and storm surge damage are primarily of concern on Samar Island, which is likely to receive a direct hit from the eyewall of the powerful storm; Hagupit will likely make landfall about 50 - 100 miles north of where Haiyan hit last year.

However, the greatest danger from the storm might be its rains. Hagupit will move very slowly though the Philippines at about 5 - 10 mph, which will allow torrential rains to fall for a long period of time. Widespread rainfall amounts of 10 - 15 inches can be expected, with some areas receiving 15 - 25 inches. Since Hagupit is likely to track very close to the capital city of Manila as a strong tropical storm or weak Category 1 typhoon, heavy rains will affect the most heavily populated part the country. In addition, Special lahar warnings have been put out for mudslides along the flanks of two volcanoes along Hagupit's path, Mayan and Bulusan, whose flanks have unstable ash deposits from recent eruptions. [more]

Super Typhoon Hagupit Closes in on the Philippines

Hundreds of residents take shelter inside the provincial capital of Surigao in the Philippines on 5 December 2014, as Super Typhoon Hagupit approaches. Photo: Erwin Mascarinas / AP

By Alastair Jamieson
5 December 2014

(NBC News) – Half a million Filipinos fled their homes as a Super Typhoon Hagupit bore down on the islands, expected to bring with it winds of up to 143 miles per hour and threatening to devastate a region battered by a different hurricane just last year.

The vast Category 5-equivalent storm — packing life-threatening wind gusts of up to 143 mph and intense rainfall of up to three-quarters of an inch per hour — is expected to make landfall Saturday.

Filipinos were bracing for the typhoon to live up to its name, which is Tagalog for "smash." Many of those evacuated were still living in tents after the devastation caused last year by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 people dead and missing.

"I'm scared," Haiyan survivor Jojo Moro told the Associated Press. "I'm praying to God not to let another disaster strike us again. We haven't recovered from the first."

Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, which is mobilizing an international rescue plan in case of disaster, said it had moved more than 100,000 people.

The U.N. Global Disaster Alert System said almost 32 million people — a third of the country's population — were likely to be affected in some way by cyclone-force winds when the storm arrives in central parts of the island nation Saturday afternoon or evening. [more]

Super Typhoon Hagupit: 500,000 Flee As Storm Approaches



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