Super Typhoon Haiyan

When a tropical cyclone matures, it developed into what is known as a typhoon. Typhoons are generally seen as occurring in the western regions of the Pacific Ocean between longitudes of 100 and 180 degrees in an easterly direction in an area often referred to as the Northwest basin of the Pacific.

The Northern region of the Pacific Ocean has been divided into three specific regions for organizational reasons and can be observed as, the eastern which is located in the North America region at 140 degrees due west, the central region which is between 140 to 180 degrees west, and the western region 180 to 100 degrees due east.

The Japan based Regional Standardized Meteorological Centre in coordination with several other tropical cyclones warning agencies are responsible for forecasting tropical cyclones.

Such other centers actively used in monitoring and reporting forecasted typhoons are located within the northwest Pacific regions of Honolulu, Hong Kong China, and the Philippines who have been accustomed to providing their very own naming list respective to specific systems approaching that country.

Within the northwestern Pacific region there are generally no officially based typhoon seasons which is due to the fact that tropical cyclones have been observed as developing irrespectively of the current seasons of the year. As in any instance for the development of a tropical cyclone there are six main conditions which must be present for such an event to occur.

These conditions include warm surface oceanic temperatures, high levels of humidity in the mid to lower levels of the troposphere, adequate Coriolis force to create sufficiently low pressure center, a previously experienced low level focus or atmospheric disturbance, a low level and vertical wind shear, and high levels of instability within the atmospheric conditions.

Most of these typhoons have been observed during the months between June through to November with instances of tropical cyclones scarcely developed during the months between December and May.

The northwestern Pacific regions have been known to experience the most intense and numerous tropical cyclones ever recorded and similar to other basin regions are governed by what is known as a subtropical ridge towards the northwest.

The island of the Philippines due to its precise location has been impacted the most by typhoon activity while Japan and China have been less affected by these storm activities.

The Japan based Meteorological Agency characterizes a tropical depression as a low category tropical system having current wind speeds of no more than 38 miles per hour or 61 kilometers per hour. When upgraded in strength and destructive ability, a tropical depression actively becomes a tropical storm sustaining wind speeds of over 39 miles per hour or 63 kilometers per hour.

If the tropical storm intensifies in its wind speeds to 55 miles per hour or 89 kilometers per hour, then it is characterized as a severe tropical storm. Once this severe tropical storm is able to sustain a consistent and increased wind speed of 74 miles per hour or 119 kilometers per hour, it is then referred to by the Japan Meteorological Agency as a typhoon.

The Hong Kong Observatory China in 2009 began dividing typhoons into two specific classes, severe and super typhoon. The severe typhoon was observed to consist of wind speeds of a minimum of 80 knots or 92 miles per hour, while the super typhoon was classified as having wind speeds of over 100 knots or 120 miles per hour.

Almost one third of the total cyclones formed worldwide are seen to occur within the western Pacific region making it the most active basin on the planet. With year round occurrences typhoon formations have been noticed to occasionally peak during the months of August to October and are seen as that similar period to the occurrence of hurricane activity within the Atlantic.

North of the Philippines lies an area which has been recognized as the most active place on Earth showing extremely high instances of typhoon activity.

This has led the Philippines to experience high level landfalls during the months of February to June with mild cases and increasing in frequency during the months July through to September and continuing into October. Due to their specific formations, the towns of central Luzon and eastern Visayas have been the most affected areas in the Philippines by typhoon activity.

In November 2013 one of the strongest super typhoons in history with sustained wind speeds in excess of over 195 miles per hour and showing gusts of up to 220 miles per hour equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane made its way to the Philippines.

This super typhoon was named Haiyan and with it carried the mass potential to affect severe widespread flooding and devastation as it prepared to plough through the central regions of the Philippines. Haiyan in Chinese means petrel, which is a type of bird commonly found to inhabit open sea regions, and will occasionally return to land for the purpose of breeding. The storm however throughout the Philippines has been known as Yolanda.

On Friday November 8th at approximately 5:00 AM Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall at a small city in the Samar province of eastern Philippines known as Guiuan with maximum sustained winds of up to 235 miles per hour close to its center.

The storm them proceeded in a westerly direction ripping through six more of the central Philippine islands. As the devastating storm continued to plunder the region, thousands of people within the central villages of the Philippines were evacuated.

Of the total population within the Philippines consisting of almost 10 million people, more than 9 million were affected by the devastating storm, taking the lives of over 10,000 people and forcing many to struggle for survival searching for food, water and shelter.

The Philippines in 2013 was previously hit by three typhoons before Super Typhoon Haiyan and today thousands of survivors are still desperately awaiting aid efforts to reach them. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations has vowed to launch an intense humanitarian plan calling upon current member states of the United Nations to show their solidarity with the Philippine people.

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