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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fengshen Brings Destruction in Phillippines

Yesterday, reports indicated that between 17 and 20 people had been killed by Typhoon Fengshen. Reports have steadily shown wind speeds as high as 100 MPH (160 kph) which would make Fengshen a solid Category 2 storm by US measuring standards using the Saffir Simpson Scale.

This morning, Reuters India reports that 155 people have been killed according to the Philippine Red Cross. This number may be increased significantly as there are reports that a ferry capsized killing as many as 700 people.

Photos from AccuWeather "The Weather Matrix Blog" by Jesse Ferrell

When A first read the report to me, our first question was, "Why was a ferry operating during a typhoon?" I know that the Philippines are island nations and I assume that water travel is a way of life. After watching the video below, it seems that the situation is so desperate that the people have no choice but have to get away with no place to go.

This article sheds a little light on the decision making:

Current estimates by the International Red Cross may be severely understated as
more than 700 ferry passengers are feared to have been lost in the typhoon-stricken Philippines. Hopes have begun to fade as only 4 survivors have been discovered.On Saturday, the Philippines became the next victim in what is predicted to be an above average Pacific typhoon (hurricane) season.
Initial observations by regional watch stations predicted that the category 1—with wind gusts of cat. 2 (150 km)—typhoon Fengshen (God of Wind) would cause little damage.
See this news report from Al Jazeera (English) showing the flooding.

The state of Iloilo is to be placed under a state of calamity Iloilo can be seen on the map here as a small island in the central part of the country.

Synopsis from

At 2:00 p.m. today, Typhoon "FRANK" was located by radar, satellite and surface data at 100 kms South of Baguio City (15.4°N 120.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 120 kph and gustiness of up to 150 kph. It is forecast to move north
northwest at 15 kph.

Hat tip to Google News for these articles. My intent was to provide a full picture of the destruction that this "low level" storm has caused. It points out that with tropical storm systems, you can never be complacent. We have to watch these systems and be prepared to take action based on what is happening on the ground.

As is typical, there is not a lot of coverage of this storm in the US media (except for the Weather Channel's Tropical Storm Update section at 50 minutes past the hour). I've noticed that the NeoCounter has shown a significant increase in the number of visitors from the Philippines. Please leave some comments describing what is going on. Our prayers and highest hopes are with you all.

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