Typhoon ‘Vongfong’ is expected to produce 50 foot (15 meter) waves and wind gusts of up to 205 mph (330 km/h) are predicted today as super typhoon Vongfong barrels across the Pacific Ocean in a path of destruction. (Note: Typhoon is interchanged with ‘hurricane’ and…
Typhoon ‘Vongfong’ is expected to produce 50 foot (15 meter) waves and wind gusts of up to 205 mph (330 km/h) are predicted today as super typhoon Vongfong barrels across the Pacific Ocean in a path of destruction. (Note: Typhoon is interchanged with ‘hurricane’ and ‘cyclone’ depending on the geographic location)
The most intense storm of 2014 is currently moving at around 11 kilometers an hour towards the Japanese Island of Okinawa, around 621 miles (1000km) south of Tokyo which is home to three quarters of the US military bases in Japan.
It’s currently located around 560 miles (900 kilometers) south southeast of the Kadena on Okinawa, and is expected to track northwest over the next 12 to 24 hours before affecting both Japan and Korea.
*Cat.5 – Catastrophic damage will occur: Category 5 is the highest category a tropical cyclone can obtain in the Saffir-Simpson scale. Very heavy and irreparable damage to many wood frame structures and total destruction to mobile/manufactured homes is prevalent. The storm’s flooding causes major damage to the lower floors of all structures near the shoreline, and many coastal structures can be completely flattened or washed away by the storm surge. Storm surge damage can occur up to four city blocks inland, with flooding, depending on terrain, reaching six to seven blocks inland. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required if the hurricane threatens populated areas. Total and extremely long-lived electrical and water losses are to be expected, possibly for up to several months.
Japanese residents are bracing for strong winds, torrential rain, high seas and mudslides. It’s also expected to impact on two world racing championships in the country this weekend and comes after French Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi suffered a horrific crash earlier this week amid rain following typhoon Phanfone which struck the region.
The second lashing comes as the death toll from Phanfone has risen to six, while five other people including two US servicemen remain missing.
That typhoon smashed Tokyo and other major cities during Monday’s rush hour, cancelling around 600 flights and suspending more than 100 bullet train services with many factories forced to close.
Phanfone was downgraded to a low pressure system on Monday as the eye moved out over the Pacific according to Japan’s meteorological agency.
Among the dead are a US military official who was trying to take photos of the storm. Two of his colleagues are still missing and believed to have been engulfed by high waves on Okinawa.
In the Yokohama area, southwest of Tokyo, two men in their 20s and 30s were killed separately as landslides destroyed their homes, a city official said. Another 62 people were injured across the country in storm related accidents.
The term ‘super typhoon’ is used to described typhoons that have maximum sustained winds for one minute of at least 240 kilometres an hour. It’s the equivalent of a category 4 or 5 hurricane or a category 5 severe tropical cyclone in Australia, according to the Hurricane Research Division.
The practice of naming cyclones and typhoons was started by an Australian forecaster Clement Wragge in the late nineteenth century, the World Meteorological Organisation reports.
Needing a way to refer to the giant storms than was easier than geographical co-ordinates, Wragge started naming them after politicians he disliked with traits such as “causing distress, erratic behaviour, or frequently changing it’s mind.”
The practice was adopted internationally using female names, but a public outcry soon meant male names were also included. Now, countries in the typhoon region submit names to the Typhoon Committee with names taken in alphabetical order from member countries.
Cyclones that originate in Australia are named by the Bureau of Meteorology based on a pre-approved list of 104 names in alphabetical order. They alternate between male and female names but those that become shorthand for significant cyclones can’t be used again. The list is also coordinated with other countries in the region to avoid double up.
And before you think about submitting your very own name for a cyclone, the Bureau receives “many requests” from the public for cyclones to be named after themselves or their friends.
They said submissions “far out-numbers” the number of cyclones that actually occur in Australia. But, people can write a written request for a name to be added to a supplementary list.