Cyclone Phailin and more Pacific Typhoons

14 10 2013

As per forecasts discussed in our blog last week, Cyclone Phailin struck the east coast of India over the weekend with winds estimated at near 130 mph.

It brought a strong storm surge along the coast and more than 230 mm (9 inches) of rain was recorded as the cyclone passed.

The cyclone was of a similar strength to one which struck just a little further up the coast in 1999, which claimed more than 10,000 lives.

Excellent forecasts for Phailin, combined with well executed warning and evacuation procedures, meant the loss of life was much less this time around.

Phailin became a tropical storm a little more than three days before landfall, but computer models were able to give far greater warning than this.

Medium range prediction models suggested a higher risk of cyclone formation in the Bay of Bengal a full nine days before Cyclone Phailin struck.

At six days ahead, shorter range models were predicting that the north-eastern coast of India could be under threat, although the timing was not certain at that stage.

Four days ahead, computer models were able to pinpoint the location and timing of landfall to a high degree of accuracy – all before the storm was strong enough to be named.

Cyclone Phailin originated from a disturbance in the far west Pacific basin and was one of a series of tropical storms seen in this region recently.

Stitched image for 0600-0700 HRS on Saturday, 12 October 2013. Phailin is on the left, Nari in the centre, and Wutip on the right. Images from CIMSS

Stitched image for 0600-0700 HRS (GMT) on Saturday, 12 October 2013. Phailin is on the left, Nari in the centre, and Wipha on the right. Images from CIMSS

Nine storms have developed in the west Pacific in the last month, including Typhoons Usagi and Fitow which struck China, Typhoon Wutip which struck Vietnam, and Typhoon Danas which caused heavy rain in South Korea and Japan.

More recently Typhoon Nari crossed the Philippines on Friday and is about to strike Vietnam. Typhoon Wipha may cause disruption in southern Japan and it seems likely another typhoon will develop later this week.

Despite this recent activity, in 2013 the northern hemisphere as a whole has still only had about 60% of the expected activity for this point in the season and regions such at the Atlantic have only seen about 30% of normal activity.

Northern hemisphere activity tends to diminish through November as the southern hemisphere season begins.

Official forecasts of Indian Ocean tropical storms are provided by the Indian Meteorological Department. Official warnings of west Pacific tropical storms are produced by the Japanese Meteological Agency (JMA).

From Tuesday 15th October a graphical display of Met Office forecast tracks of active tropical storms will be available from our web pages. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.

Cyclones set to strike India and the Philippines

11 10 2013

While the tropical storm and cyclone season for the northern hemisphere has been relatively quiet this year, the last few weeks has seen a spike in activity with three tropical cyclones currently active.

The north Indian Ocean sees tropical storms develop during two periods of the year – April to June and October to December.

Cyclone Phailin at 0455 UTC 11 October 2013. Image from the NASA Terra satellite.

Cyclone Phailin at 0455 UTC 11 October 2013. Image from the NASA Terra satellite.

Cyclone Phailin formed in the Bay of Bengal earlier this week and has become the most intense cyclone in this region since Cyclone Sidr in 2007. At the time of writing it has 1-minute average sustained winds of near 155 mph.

Phailin, which is a Thai word for ‘sapphire’, is expected to make landfall over the Odisha state of India on Saturday night and bring destruction from its strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge.

It is likely to be the strongest cyclone to hit India since the devastating ‘Odisha Cyclone’ of 1999, and it is possible it could be even stronger.

Meanwhile Typhoon Nari is continuing a busy spell for tropical storms in the last few weeks in the west Pacific Ocean.

With winds near 100 mph, Nari is making landfall over the northern Philippines today before moving into the South China Sea where it could continue towards a second landfall in China or Vietnam.

Behind Nari, another storm is developing called Wipha. This is set to strengthen into a typhoon and move northwards in the direction of Japan.

Landfall over Japan is possible, but at this stage a glancing blow to southern coastal regions of the country in the middle of next week is the most likely outcome.

Official warnings of west Pacific tropical storms are produced by the Japanese Meteological Agency (JMA). Official forecasts of Indian Ocean tropical storms are provided by the Indian Meteorological Department.

For more information on tropical cyclones worldwide, visit our web pages or follow @metofficestorms on Twitter.

Typhoon Utor makes landfall in southeast China

14 08 2013

Typhoon Utor is currently a strong tropical cyclone and has recently made landfall near Yangjiang, southeast China which is approximately mid-way between Hong Kong and Zhangjiang. Utor is currently moving slowly north-northwest and is expected to continue along this track for the next three days and weaken as it remains overland.

Typhoon Utor

The impacts of Typhoon Utor have already been felt across the Philippines, with four people dead and homes and crops destroyed. The strong winds and high waves associated with Utor may have also have been a factor in the sinking of a large cargo ship off Hong Kong harbour.

Heavy rainfall is expected to lead to very heavy rainfall over southeast China where 150 – 200 mm are forecast in the next 24 hours, particularly near Zhangjiang and Yangjiang. This is likely to cause severe flooding, flash flooding and landslides.

Typhoon Utor

A significant storm surge occurred in the Phillipines and is expected to intensify flooding in southeast China. Forecasts suggest a peak storm surge of 2.4 m above normal tides between Hong Kong and Yangjiang. This will also be accompanied by very high waves which will cause over topping of harbours and coastal flood defences. Winds will continue to be very strong for at least the next 24 hours and will continue to affect power lines and transport infrastructure.

The main areas of heavy rainfall are expected to move north and east during Thursday and Friday with very large rainfall accumulations (150 – 200 mm per day) expected over northern Guandong province leading to further flash flooding and landslides.

Follow @metofficestorms on Twitter for the latest updates on tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons.

Cyclone twins form in the Indian Ocean

11 05 2013

April to June each year usually sees the transition from the southern to the northern hemisphere tropical cyclone season.

During this time it is possible to see cyclones in both hemispheres simultaneously. Furthermore, cyclone ‘twins’ sometimes develop at approximately the same longitude either side of the equator.

For the first time since 2009 cyclone twins have developed in the Indian Ocean.

This was caused by a strong burst of westerly winds along the equator about a week ago. A large mass of clouds located in the same area initially moved eastwards with the wind.

The clouds furthest from the equator then started to curl northwards in the northern hemisphere and southwards in the southern hemisphere due to the earth’s rotation. Over time these cloud masses have consolidated and started to rotate to produce twin tropical storms.

The southern hemisphere storm has been named Jamala and is currently not expected to affect any land areas.

The northern hemisphere storm has been named Mahasen and there is a stronger likelihood of this making landfall next week on one of the Bay of Bengal’s coastal regions.

Regional warnings for Tropical Storm Jamala are produced by the Tropical Cyclone warning Centre at La Réunion in the South Indian Ocean.

Regional warnings for Tropical Storm Mahasen are produced by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre at New Delhi, India.

The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance.

You can keep up to date with tropical cyclones around the world on our website or follow us on Twitter.

You can see the latest image of Tropical Storms Jamala and Mahasen at:


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