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Friday, June 20, 2008

Typhoon Fengshen makes landfall


UPDATE: Fengshen is over the Phillipines right now and apparently has decreased in intensity to a tropical storm, possibly even a strong tropical depression. Circulation is staying very organized and once the storm reemerges over water is expected to strengthen. The question at this point is how much? Northward winds are increasing which are acting as a shearing force to break apart Fengshen so the expectation is that he will only strengthen slighly, possibly to a level 1 typhoon. (Source: Weather Underground)

However, the sea temepratures are very warm (> 30C) in the western Pacific around the Philippines and China so the potential exists for significant strengthening if the shearing winds do not develop as expected.

Another key factor which was very interesting to me is that the storm track, originally predicted to turn to the northeast before ever reaching the Philippines, has now been shifted westward. Fengshen is now expected to follow a northwestward track and make landfall in China. The area where Fengshen is likely to make landfall at this time is being inundated with monsoon rain and gale force winds so the addition of this storm regardless of its intensity could be catastrophic.
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From AccuWeather.com




Early Friday morning EDT, Typhoon Fengshen made landfall over the island of
Samar in the eastern Philippines. Maximum sustained winds were 80
mph, the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific
basins.

The typhoon smashed into the Philippines' 3rd largest island Friday at Category 1 hurricane strength. Storm tracks now look like the storm will pass directly over the island and over the capital of Manila before turning to the northeast. Due to the interaction with land there is not likely to be any further strengthening but the rainfall may be an issue IMO.





MANILA (AFP) — Typhoon Fengshen smashed into the Philippines' third largest island Friday packing winds of 140 kilometres (87 miles) an hour as residents
braced for flooding, landslides and big waves.


There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage as the storm scythed northwest across Samar, an impoverished island of 1.5 million people.


Its eye was 60 kilometres away from the island's main city Calbayog at 4:00 pm (0800 GMT), the weather office here said.

--snip--

Fengshen was expected to hit the Bicol peninsula on Luzon's southeastern tip on Saturday, and could then hit the Luzon heartland on Sunday, the weather bureau said in an updated forecast.


Arroyo has ordered that warnings be issued to all provinces along the typhoon's expected path, and for local governments to prepare for contingencies, senior aide Anthony Golez said in a statement.


The armed forces were also on "alert in order to support evacuation activities of local government units if needed," Golez said, while the social welfare department was beefing up its relief stockpiles.


The weather bureau, which upgraded Fengshen from a tropical storm on Friday, warned residents of low-lying areas and upland communities to take precautions against flash floods and landslides.


The bureau also said coastal communities could be hit by big waves.


Heavy rains brought by the storm have caused some flooding in parts of the country, but no casualties or damage have been reported.


Hundreds of people die in the Philippines every year due to floods and landslides caused by tropical storms or typhoons that sweep in mainly from the Pacific.


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