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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Typhoon Sanbha slams South Korea - Macau connection !


Typhoon Sanba, packing winds of 155 kilometres (97 miles) per hour, slammed  South Korea on Monday, 17th Sept. 2012,  bringing torrential rains across the country and shutting down flights and ferry services.  Sanba is the third major typhoon to hit the Korean peninsula in two months.

Heard of Macau  ! -  it is one the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China, the other being Hong Kong. Macau lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta. The territory's economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism, but also includes manufacturing.  A former Portuguese colony, Macau was administered by Portugal from the mid-16th century until 1999, when it was the last remaining European colony in China.  Under the policy of "one country, two systems", the PRC's Central People's Government is responsible for the territory's defense and foreign affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy. According to The World Factbook, Macau has the second highest life expectancy in the world.

A Typhoon is a mature Tropical Cyclone that develops in the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean.  Identical phenomena in the eastern north Pacific are called hurricanes.  Within the northwestern Pacific there are no official typhoon seasons as tropical cyclones form throughout the year. Like any tropical cyclone, there are six main requirements for typhoon formation and development: sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures, atmospheric instability, high humidity in the lower to middle levels of the troposphere, enough Coriolis force to develop a low pressure center, a pre-existing low level focus or disturbance, and low vertical wind shear. The majority of storms form between June and November whilst tropical cyclone formation is at a minimum between December and May.

A low-pressure area formed east of Palau on September 9 and gradually drifted westward. Early on September 10, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) upgraded it to a tropical depression, before the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert on the system later that day and also upgraded it to a tropical depression late on the same day.  As the system entered the Philippine Area of Responsibilityearly on September 11, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) started to advisories on the system and named it Karen. At the same time, the JMA upgraded the system to a tropical storm and named it Sanba, and the JTWC also upgraded it to a tropical storm later.  Later Sanba strengthened into a category 1 typhoon and began explosive getting upgraded to a severe tropical storm and even a typhoon later.

Typhoon Sanba pummelled South Korea on Monday, uprooting trees, shutting down flights and ferry services and unleashing torrential rains that left at least one person dead in a landslide. The third major typhoon to hit the Korean peninsula in two months, Sanba made landfall in the southern port of Yeosu shortly before midday (0300 GMT), packing winds of around 137 kilometres (85 miles) per hour.  The typhoon pounded the South Korean island of Jeju overnight Sunday, leaving 10,000 homes without power and damaging roads. As the typhoon made landfall, powerful winds uprooted large trees, ripped away business hoardings and advertising billboards and knocked over traffic lights. Numerous train services were suspended or delayed due to landslides and downed power lines cut electricity to some 130,000 homes in southern regions.

The typhoon’s power was  reportedly felt in the capital Seoul also  where strong winds and driving rain caused the cancellation of all first-round matches at the WTA Korea Open tennis tournament .More than 260 flights, including 52 international services, were cancelled Monday, while all ferry services were suspended nationwide, the transport ministry  is quoted as saying.  

Before reaching South Korea, the storm hit Japan. About 67,000 homes in southwestern Japan lost power and some areas flooded. A man drowned Sunday while swimming in high waves off the southern Japanese island of Ishigaki, according to the coast guard. In North Korea, which reported heavy casualties from another powerful typhoon last month, any heavy rain is a worry. There weren’t any immediate official reports about whether Monday’s typhoon caused any injuries or damage.

According to a weather report the wind speed increased from 25 mph on 10.9.12 to the speed of super typhoon 4 @ 135 @ 16.30 on 13.9.12 and intensified further to blow at 150 mph at which stage it was a super typhoon.  

Typhoon Sanba is  the fourth tropical cyclone to hit Korea; the sixteenth named storm and tenth typhoon of the 2012 Pacific typhoon season, Sanba has been the strongest tropical cyclone worldwide in 2012. The name Sanba, which refers to the Ruins of St. Paul's in Macau, is a transcription of São Paulo. It is the first time in 50 years that the Korea has been pounded by four typhoons in a single year.  The name Sanba for the typhoon was sponsored by Macau

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
18th Sept. 2012 [photos courtesy : www.dailymail.co.uk]

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