Monday, 18 October 2010

News: The Most Intense Tropical Cyclones Ever Recorded -- Super Typhoon Megi (Updated 2010-10-20)

Monday morning and a piece of good news or bad news? The Hong Kong Observatory reported,

"At noon, Super Typhoon Megi was centred about 350 kilometres north-northeast of Manila. It is forecast to move west or west-southwest at about 18 kilometres per hour across the northern part of Luzon."

Super Typhoon Megi
Satellite Image from Hong Kong Observatory

Super Typhoon Megi Track
Image from Hong Kong Observatory

 Image from Hong Kong Observatory

Super Typhoon Megi 17 October 2010
Image from Wikipedia

I'm sure some people are hoping for their very first typhoon holiday. Wednesday maybe? Or Thursday? Typhoons cause deaths, but also balance the eco-system by bringing in rain, washing away dusty particles from the air and bringing cooler temperature. Let's hope this one will do more good than harm.

Here's a news article for you.

Supertyphoon Megi Slams Into Philippines; One Missing

October 18, 2010, 2:04 AM EDT
By Cecilia Yap and Stuart Biggs

(Updates with storm makes landfall in first paragraph.)

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- One person was missing in the Philippines as Supertyphoon Megi made landfall in northern Luzon, the nation’s most populous island, dumping heavy rain and prompting authorities to order evacuations.

Megi, known in the Philippines as Juan, came ashore near Divilacan Bay, southeast of the city of Tuguegarao at 11.25 a.m. local time, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration said. The storm is forecast to cross Luzon by early tomorrow before heading into the South China Sea toward southern China.

Megi had sustained winds of about 270 kilometers per hour before the eye crossed the coast, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said, making it a Category 5 storm capable of catastrophic damage. The government was criticized for its response last year when Tropical Storm Ketsana flooded Manila.

“We are better prepared now,” Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa said at a briefing in the capital today. “Everybody is conscious about their jobs.”

Vicente Decena, a 53-year-old candidate in next week’s village council elections, is missing in Cagayan, the province’s police commander, Mao Aplasca, said in a mobile phone message to reporters.

Signal No. 4, the highest storm alert, was issued for the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan, Kalinga, Mountain and Ifugao, the weather agency said. Megi’s center was 70 kilometers east of Tuguegarao at 12 p.m.

Damaged Rice

The country may lose 600,000 metric tons of its rice crop, Agriculture Undersecretary Antonio Fleta said in a phone interview from Manila today. Half of the 157,000 hectares (388,000 acres) of land planted with rice in Cagayan and Isabela have yet to be harvested, he said. The Philippines is the world’s largest rice importer.

Cebu Air Inc. cancelled eight flights, the Philippines’ largest budget airline said in a mobile phone message. Philippine Airlines cancelled flights to Laoag north of Manila, spokeswoman Cielo Villaluna said by phone.

Megi may bring rains “similar” to Ketsana last year, Graciano Yumul, officer in charge of the weather bureau, said at a briefing in Manila today.

The Philippine agency said Megi’s winds were blowing at 225 kilometers per hour and the storm was moving west-southwest at 17 kph. The storm my dump as much as 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) of rain per hour.

Preparing Medicines

Food packs and medicines have been prepared in provinces that may be struck by the typhoon, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said in an advisory posted on its website today. Schools in affected areas were closed.

National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, which operates the country’s high-voltage transmission network, said it activated command centers at its main and regional offices to minimize the impact from the storm. Megi disrupted power supply in Cagayan province, the disaster council’s advisory said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has more than 2,000 units deployed in northern and central Luzon, the advisory said.

Emergency services are on alert and ready to carry out evacuations, President Benigno Aquino said in a statement posted on his website. “We do not want to unduly alarm the public, but there is nothing lost by being prepared,” he said in the statement.

Almost 5 million people were affected by floods as Ketsana swept across Luzon in September last year, leaving about 460 people dead.

Catastrophic Damage”

Megi is a Category 5 storm, the strongest on the Saffir- Simpson scale. Such storms may cause “catastrophic damage,” according to the website of the U.S. National Hurricane Center. “People, livestock, and pets are at very high risk of injury or death from flying or falling debris.”

Storms in the northwest Pacific are designated as supertyphoons when their wind speed exceeds 241 kph, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Manila may escape last year’s levels of flooding as Megi passes to the north, Yumul said.

The Philippines is regularly battered by tropical cyclones that form over the Pacific Ocean to the east of the country. Typhoon Conson left 102 people dead in July and destroyed or damaged more than 70,000 homes, the disaster coordinating council said in August.

Megi will “severely” affect the south China coast, bringing heavy rains and winds after entering the eastern part of the South China Sea tomorrow, China’s National Meteorological Center said in a statement posted to its website today.

Megi is the name of a catfish in South Korea and is related to the feeling of getting wet, according to the Hong Kong Observatory, which lists names assigned to storms in the northwest Pacific. It is the 15th storm of the season.

--With assistance by Joel Guinto in Manila and Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore. Editors: Aaron Sheldrick, John Viljoen.

To contact the reporters for this story: Cecilia Yap in Manila at; Stuart Biggs in Tokyo at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at; Amit Prakash at

populous -- (adj) FORMAL A populous country, area or place has a lot of people living in it
evacuations -- (n) [C or U] the moving of people from a dangerous place to somewhere safe
sustained -- (adj) continuing for a long time
disrupt -- (vb)  [T]  to prevent something, especially a system, process or event, from continuing as usual or as expected
unduly -- (adv) FORMAL to a level which is more than is necessary, acceptable or reasonable
catastrophic -- (adj) describing a sudden event that causes very great trouble or destruction
battered -- (adj) damaged, especially by being used a lot


What's good to do at home on a typhoon holiday? Kids usually enjoy their computer games, Wii or Xbox Kinetic, some people might like to go adventurous and head out to chase some winds and test out the wind speed. I would prefer to go yum cha and have some nice dim sum and then return home to do some more reading through the internet, learn a few more new things, while at the same time, enjoy a nice cup of coffee. The TV programs or websites that I recommended would be some good choices for you, but the most important thing is spending time with your family, not everybody has the luxury to do so, so we should all treasure this.

See you guys on Wednesday.

Added Information:

Quoted from Wikipedia,

The name "Megi" means "catfish" in the Korean language. It is the first typhoon of 2010 in thePacific Basin to achieve "Super Typhoon" status, and the first in the Western Pacific since Nida in 2009. With a minimum pressure of 885 millibars, it is among the most intense tropical cyclones ever recorded. It made landfall early on October 18 in northeastern Luzonat Sierra Madre, becoming one of the strongest storms in recorded history to make landfall anywhere in the world.