2006-05-26 20:30 JST
The insufficient tsunami warning system became a serious issue after the unprecedented disasters by the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. The damage could have been avoided if appropriate tsunami warning had been issued, and if the warning had reached immediately before the tsunami... A similar issue is now being raised on the insufficient typhoon warning system in Vietnam. This is because a country with the largest casualties is not Philippines nor China, which were being directly hit by the typhoon, but in fact Vietnam, which was far from the track of the typhoon. The massive shipwreck of Vietnamese fishing boats in South China Sea became a calamity of more than 200 people killed or missing, and people in Da-Nang and other cities in Central Vietnam are very shocked by the huge losses of fishing boats leaving from those cities. Why such a massive shipwreck happened? This typhoon initially was moving west across Philippines, but Japan Meteorological Agency, and Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued predictions in advance that the typhoon will make a turn toward north later in a few days. Vietnamese fishing boats operating in South China Sea at that time, however, did not get that kind of information, and they thought the typhoon would keep moving west. This led their decision to evacuate from the typhoon in north of it, so when the typhoon actually made a sharp turn to north as predicted (tracking chart), it was like a surprise for them, and they had little time to escape from the typhoon. Fishing boats were directly struck by the strongest typhoon in May recorded in that region, and they went shipwreck one after another. If the fishing boats could have obtained long-term and more accurate typhoon forecast, this kind of massive shipwreck could have been avoided. And this reminds me of possible Japan's contribution to this disaster. After Indian Ocean Tsunami, Japan contributed to making better system using Japan's advanced technology on tsunami. We may be able to excercise similar contribution to typhoon in terms of weather prediction and information dissemination as well. Japan also experienced massive shipwreck in the past (such as Mariana shipwreck of Japanese fishing boats in 1965 which seems to be caused by similar processes and causes), and this was one of the strong motivations to advance the technology of weather prediction. To reduce disasters by the enhancement of meteorological information -- this is an important subject in South East Asia, and I suppose Japan can contribute to this important subject. Newspapers in Vietnam are taking this issue seriously. To pick up a few, the process of disasters is summarized in Chanchu losses heavy as families ask why, while the cause is described in Typhoon Chanchu: correct forecasting too late and other articles. You may be interested in searching other articles by Google News.
2006-05-19 20:30 JST
Typhoon CHANCHU made landfall early in 18th between Shantou in Guangdong Province and Xiamen in Fujian Province, and moved along the coast of Taiwan Strait. The death toll of this typhoon exceeded 60 across a few countries in Asia.
2006-05-17 18:00 JST
Typhoon CHANCHU seems to be weakening as its eye is not apparent any more in the evening which was visible in this morning. It is gradually changing its movement toward east, and approaching to the coast of southern China. It will make a landfall tonight, or pass through Taiwan Strait to East China Sea. It is a rare case that a strong typhoon takes this kind of track, so it is concerned that these areas are well prepared, but some articles say that more than 180,000 people started evacuation in Guangdong Province. Typhoons that hit western Taiwan, such as Taipei, usually come from the east passing over the central mountains, and this makes the intensity of typhoons much weaker when they reach western Taiwan. But this typhoon comes along Taiwan Strait, so it may hit western Taiwan before it has got weakened. This is a rare case that western Taiwan is located in the "dangerous circle" of the typhoon, so another concern is damage in this area when the typhoon takes the most east course of the forecast.
2006-05-16 19:15 JST
Typhoon CHANCHU seems to have passed its peak. Possible landfall locations range from Hong Kong to Fujian Province, and it is still too difficult to predict the exact place of landfall, but the typhoon is still an unusually strong typhoon in this time of year, so the danger is increasing across all the areas. In addition to heavy rains and strong winds, I suppose that another threatening risk of Typhoon CHANCHU is the storm surge along the coast of Southern China (between Guangdong Province and Fujian Province). If you observe the landscape of Southern China using, say, Google Earth, you can find many places of narrow bay opening toward southeast surrounded by low land, and this kind of geometry may be prone to storm surge due to the pile-up of water by high winds. The low central pressure and strong winds of Typhoon CHANCHU also contributes to increasing the risk of storm surge.
2006-05-15 18:10 JST
Typhoon CHANCHU is still developing as if it covers the whole South China Sea. This typhoon can be said as an unusually strong typhoon considering the area and the time of year. This typhoon made a sharp turn today into northward direction as predicted by Japan Meteorological Agency and others. Forecast says that this typhoon will make a further turn into eastward direction.
2006-05-13 17:30 JST
Typhoon CHANCHU has traversed the central Philippines and passed near Manila, but from now it will gradually go away from Philippines and enter into South China Sea. If we measure distance between Manila and the closest point using Google Earth, the distance is about 150km, while the radius of the area of 50kt winds is about 90km, so Manila has not been contained in the 50kt area. However, some disasters are already reported from the central Philippines after being hit directly by the typhoon. The concern now is how the typhoon will evolve when it enters into South China Sea, after crossing over Philippines without weakening. The clouds at the center are still not so dense at this moment, but the whole spiral clouds are developing bigger, and this typhoon may develop into a typhoon strong as one in South China Sea area. About the track, the most probable track at this moment is that the typhoon later make a northward turn to move toward Hong Kong, than that the typhoon will keep its current track toward Vietnam.
Typhoon CHANCHU is, for nearly a day, moving over the area with many islands in the central Philippines. This is a situation where intensification is relatively difficult, but the shape of clouds is still solid, suggesting that it will not weaken for the moment. After this typhoon passes very near to Manila and enters into South China Sea in which islands are scarce, it has a momentum to start intensification again.
Typhoon CHANCHU is gradually intensifying and approaching the central Philippines. The forecast says that it will move toward Samar Island and then along the southern part of Luzon Island, finally reaching South China Sea. Leyte Island and Cebu Island has already entered in the area of 50kt winds or more, and within a few days, Mindoro Island and Manila will also be directly affected by the typhoon.
Typhoon CHANCHU has now more solid shape with extending spiral clouds. It seems the typhoon is still in the developing process.
By the way, mass media are reporting the birth of Typhoon No. 1 as "four months earlier than the last year," but as I noted in Typhoon No. 1 of the last year, a comparison across typhoon seasons are not so meaningful. But once I realized this fact, I felt that the answer I gave yesterday on the question "how late this typhoon No. 1 was born in the year?" was not enough. Today I would like to give another answer from a different viewpoint. In the beginning, as I wrote in a story about the typhoon season, the "real" bound of typhoon seasons is set to February 11. Then we need to search "how late this Typhoon No. 1 is in history" among typhoons born later than February 11. The following method can solve this problem.
Typhoon CHANCHU was born in east of Mindanao Island. It is forecast to draw near to the southern part of Philippines. By the way, this is the first typhoon of this year (typhoon season), and a typical question for the first typhoon is "how early (or late) in the year is this Typhoon No. 1 born in history?" The earliest and the latest typhoon was already determined, but how about this typhoon? I guess some people are searching this Website to answer this question, so I tried to do it by myself. But I realized after searching it that this question cannot be answered directly. Ah, a useless Website. So it may be good for me to implement a special function for "studying Typhoon No. 1," but in fact you can answer this question if you combine existing functionality effectively. In the following, I will show two methods so that I can help those who are lost in vain. Here is the first method.
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