Maysak continues towards Philippines; Damage near $1 Billion still predicted

Maysak is not as intense as yesterday, but is still an impressive and powerful storm at 130kts/150mph/240kph:

Forecast track has been pretty steady to hit the northern Philippines island of Luzon in a bit over three days:

On this track, and using the JTWC forecast intensity at landfall of 85 knots, the storm could cause upwards of $1 Billion dollars in damage.  For perspective, that is about 0.3% of GDP, or the equivalent of a $40 Billion dollar storm hitting the US.  That is about the same damage as Hurricane Ike, which hit Texas in 2008, and is the third most expensive storm in US history.  The Philippines has been hit be several intense storms the last few years, such as Haiyan in 2013 and Bopha in 2012 – in fact they have had 6 disasters that, in GDP equivalents, would have been worse than Hurricane Andrew, just since 2010.  Bad Luck, or changing climate ?

Typhoon Maysak

Typhoon Maysak  (WP042015) is a very powerful, 140kt/160mph/260kph storm, currently south of Guam.  The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecast track has it headed towards the northern Philippines:

On this track it would make landfall with winds at around 95kts/180kph, and cause between $500 Million and a Billion dollars in damage.  Last year JTWC’s intensity forecasts were not so great.  The objective models, and the Japan Meteorological Agency Ensemble (pink line) forecasts also show the storm striking the northern Philippines:

The JMA Ensemble forecast has a  weaker storm, only 80 knots at landfall.  80 vs 95 may not seem as much, but an 80knot wind only has 70% of the energy of a 95 knot wind; big difference in damage.

Typhoon Higos (WP022015) in the North Pacific

Typhoon Higos is moving through the North West Pacific, in the big blank area between Guam and Wake Island:

Nothing in the way, no damage forecast.  It’s a bit unusual for this time of year, but our good records of the Pacific only go back to the 1940’s, so it’s a bit hard to draw any conclusions from this.  This is the second North West Pacific storm (the WP022015 designation is the Joint Typhoon Warning Center tracking number – WP is West Pacific, 02 is the second storm, 2015 the year).

WP01 (Mekkhala) Makes landfall on the Philippines; stronger than expected

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.

Typhoon headed towards Philippines

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 closes in on Bermuda

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.

Busy tropics: Gonzalo, Hudhud, Vongfong, and Fay

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.

New storm in the Atlantic: Gonzalo

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):