Typhoon Mekkhala (WP012015) is making landfall on the Philippines as a minimal Typhoon. The current forecast track/intensity, using the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecast and my Taru model, is below. JTWC continues the trend last year of not doing a great job on intensity forecasts – Thursday the landfall intensity was only forecast as 50 knots, but the storm is significantly stronger today, at 70 knots.
Estimated impacts are around $150 Million USD, although the misery will be out of proportion to that due to the ongoing recovery from last year’s storms.
Mekkhala has forced the Holy Father to cut short his papal visit, barely making it out ahead of the storm. Unfortunately, there was a fatality when some scaffolding near the stage collapsed, and an airplane carrying government officials overshot the runway and ended up in a ditch just after he left. I’ll not comment on the theological implications of that.
We already have the first storm of the 2015 season, and it’s headed towards the same place many of the storms hit last year: the central and northern Philippines:
Using the Joint Typhoon Center track, damage is forecast to be in the $40 Million range, with the storm peaking as a 50 knot tropical storm, and passing south of Manila as a minimal tropical storm. All in all shouldn’t be too bad, but there are still a lot of people reeling from last year so this is not exactly a welcome system.
Gonzalo will pass over or very close to Bermuda today. Here’s the visual band view as the sun rises this morning:
The forecast tracks are all tightly cluster with the peak winds passing directly over the island. Here is the forecast wind swath, using the NHC forecast track and my Taru wind model:
Slight wobbles will matter a lot – and because wind damage is relative to the cube of the wind speed, even 10mph difference can mean a lot. On this track we would expect 110 to 120mph winds over the islands. That is almost identical to Hurricane Fabian in 2003. Fabian caused over $300 Million USD in damage in 2003; we should expect at least as much from this storm unless we get a lucky wobble.
From about 5pm EDT Thursday . . .
As always, tracking is online here.
admin note: For some reason both FB and Twitter got the name “Gonzalo” wrong in the title. I fixed it before publishing but for some reason it went out “Gonzalolo”. Weird.
Offshore, strong, but deep (over 40km), so it was felt over a large area but damage was probably not extensive:
Had the quake been more shallow (under 20km), it could have been much worse, with the risk of a tsunami and much more ground shaking and damage.
Four active storms. Hudhud hit India yesterday, and relief efforts are underway. It is currently decaying as it moves inland over the subcontinent:
My Istanu model estimates between $5 and $6 Billion dollars in impacts. Given the size of the Indian economy, that would be the equivalent of 2004’s Hurricane Ivan. Of course, given the disparities in the Indian economy, and the fact that natural disasters disproportionately impact the lower ends of the economic and social scale, that comparison only goes so far. Istanu estimates that 14 Million people experienced hurricane force winds, with almost four million experiencing Category 3 conditions (over 110 mph/176kph). That will require a massive relief effort.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Vongfong is decaying over Japan, dumping rain but not much wind:
And tropical storm Gonzalo is headed towards the Caribbean. While it is forecast to become a hurricane, that shouldn’t happen until after it passes over the islands, and should pass off to the east of Bermuda:
Tropical storm (formerly hurricane) Fay is out in the mid-Atlantic, having brushed Bermuda, knocking out power and causing some minor damage.
Tropical Storm Gonzalo has formed off the Leeward Islands, and is forecast to hit Puerto Rico as a hurricane in a couple of days (click for larger):
Damage likely to be in the hundreds of millions according to Istanu, assuming the NHC forecast track and intensity holds up. Here’s the latest satellite image (4:30pm Sunday):
Not much change in this forecast (using the JTWC track and my Taru model). Lots of rain, which can cause mudslides and flooding given Japan’s steep topography.
The strong cyclone (hurricane,typhoon, different names for the same thing) Hudhud is making landfall near Visakhapatnam today. Not much change in the forecast since yesterday. The impacts are still predicted to be on the order of $5 Billion USD. Here is the latest forecast wind map using the Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast and my TARU model (click for larger version):
Storm surges are still predicted to be over 4 meters just north of the center of landfall:
Japan is a fascinating place for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is at the crossroads of natural disasters. Typhoons, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanoes, landslides, about the only thing Japan doesn’t get regularly are wildfires. The weakening typhoon Vongfong is expected to sweep over the islands over the next few days, and this morning an offshore quake rattled the northern islands:
The quake shouldn’t have caused any damage; the typhoon may cause a few hundred million USD in impacts, but dumping more rain on the Fukushima site is always unwelcome.