WMO Community Mobilizes for Haiyan (Yolanda)
Typhoon Haiyan is the strongest tropical cyclone so far this year and one of the most intense on record. The threat of this catastrophic typhoon prompted extraordinary coordination and cooperation between the World Meteorological Organization, its Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of the Philippines and Viet Nam. Without this mobilization, the tragic loss of life would have been even higher.
The WMO community is committed to support relief and recovery operations. WMO’s Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) Tokyo - Typhoon Centre, and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) are providing early warnings of a new tropical depression which has formed to the southeast of the Philippines. It is forecasted to slowly strengthen to be a named tropical storm by 0600 UTC on 12 November as it moves west-northwest. There is a risk that this tropical storm could affect the areas already damaged by Typhoon Haiyan.
The western North Pacific basin has had a very active tropical cyclone season. The total number of named tropical cyclones so far in this year is 30, higher than the annual average of 25.6 (1981 – 2010 base period).
Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda, made landfall in the Philippines early on 8th November. WMO’s RSMC Tokyo - Typhoon Centre, said that shortly before landfall the central pressure was 895 hPa. Low central pressure means that more air gets sucked into the cyclone and so its winds are more powerful. By comparison, typhoon Bopha (known as Pablo in the Philippines) last year was 930 hPa at its peak intensity).
Under WMO’s model of regional cooperation, RSMC Tokyo provided the Philippines (PAGASA) with tropical cyclone advisory forecasts (3-hourly), storm-surge forecasts (6-hourly), and tropical cyclone ensemble forecasts.
PAGASA issued regular updates to disaster management authorities on the intensity and trajectory of this violent typhoon. According to PAGASA, maximum sustained winds just after landfall were up to 215 kilometers per hour near the center with gustiness of 250 km/h. PAGASA estimated the rainfall amount was from 10.0 - 20.0 mm per hour (heavy - intense) within the 400 km diameter. It warned of storm surges, which may reach up to 7-meter wave height.
On the basis of the early warnings from PAGASA, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council evacuated more than 750,000 people in the typhoon’s path as it moved through the central Philippines, including the island of Bohol, which was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake last month.
In view of the threat of Haiyan, the National Hydro-Meteorological Service of Viet Nam requested special assistance from WMO.
The WMO Secretariat, RSMC Tokyo - Typhoon Centre, China Meteorological Administration’s National Meteorological Centre and Guangzhou Regional Meteorological Centre (GRMC), and Hong Kong Observatory provided extraordinary operational support to the National Hydro Meteorological Centre of Viet Nam. This included exceptional, intensive satellite observational services from the China Meteorological Administration every 12 minutes.
The NHMS issued hourly televised warnings and the government evacuated a reported 600,000 people. Based on the forecasting and early warning information by the NHMS of Viet Nam, the government made contingency plans for possible different landfall points to meet challenges due to uncertainty in track and intensity forecasting. The government implemented preparedness measures for three different possible landfall points and mobilized all relevant authorities to protect lives and property.
Haiyan made landfall in Viet Nam in the coast of Quang Ninh Province around 2100UTC 10 Nov. 2013. The maximum wind speed near the centre was 108-144 km/h at landfall. Such strong winds are very dangerous to the coastal communities in the Quang Ninh Province. In the landfall area, the accumulated rainfall is from 50 – 100mm for 24 hours. At the same time, the high wind induced 3- 5m high storm surge in the coast of landfall area. Despite the strength of the typhoon, immediate reported casualties were limited.
aiyan weakened into a tropical storm as it entered China, with maximum wind force up to 72 km/h, and was expected to further weaken to a tropical depression. The China Meteorological Administration said it would bring high winds and heavy rain to areas in its path.