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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Typhoon Ketsana slams into Da Nang

Typhoon Ketsana strengthened to a Category 1 typhoon just before slamming into central Vietnam today. The eye of the storm went right over Da Nang with hurricane force winds reaching north to Hue.

At least 23 people have been killed although the report from Vietnam Net (below) indicates that as many as 69 or more may have died. It is not clear to me from the article if this is referring to Ketsana or the storm from 3 years ago. I do not want to diminish any loss of life and I certainly hope that any loss of life has been minimal.

Over 170,000 people have been evacuated from 6 provinces.

Typhoon Ketsana Roars into Vietnam (Wall Street Journal) Photo essay

Typhoon Ketsana roared into central Vietnam on Tuesday, killing more than 20 people as it brought flooding and powerful winds to the country.
Central Vietnam in storm (Vietnam Net) Photo essay

Typhoon Ketsana has hit central provinces, causing floods, damages and traffic paralysis in many places.

Superstorm to hit midcoast cities head on (Vietnam Net)

Already Ketsana is being compared to Typhoon Xangsane, a category 15 storm that slammed into the central coast with devastating force three years ago. Considering its devastating force, loss of life was relatively low – 69 dead and some 500 injured – thanks to good warning and effective emergency measures as the storm approached.

Ketsana knocked down nearly 15,000 houses, damaged nearly 250,000 more, and sank or damaged over 500 boats. Damages in Danang City alone were estimated at over five trillion dong, or nearly $300 million.

Though the strongest impact will be felt on the central coast from Quang Tri to the north to Quang Ngai to the south, strong winds and rains will also pound the Ho Chi Minh City area as the storm, diminishing in intensity after it makes landfall, passes through toward Laos.

The aftermath of Ketsana in the Philippines continues to be devestation. The death toll has risen to 240 people.

Havoc in typhoon Ketsana's wake (Al Jazeera)

In the case of the Philippines, not only have we had a very wet rainy season coupled with the slow passage of Ketsana - which threw down copious amounts of rain over a short period of time as the storm crossed Luzon (over a month's worth in less than a day), but the outflow from the storm has continued to feed showers across the same areas even after the storm had passed.

Ketsana then re-intensified as it moved into the warm, moist waters of the South China Sea and is now bringing widespread floods into Vietnam.

Da-Nang, along the southern and eastern coast, has already seen 285mm of rain in just 24 hours and the city of Hue, farther inland, has seen 336mm over the same time-frame.

And there is more to come.

Ketsana will now quickly weaken as it makes its way over land but further flooding and mudslides are expected.

Ketsana will continue westward passing across the width of Vietnam, through Laos and into Tailand before dissipating.

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