Thursday, November 02, 2006

Typhoon Naming

Typhoon Cimaron (which means "wild bull") did not live up to its macho name and potential, slowly losing strength after climbing the Sierra Madre and Cordillera ranges. Even its Filipino name, Paeng, is unlike esteemed bowling hero Paeng Nepomuceno, giving us a spare instead of a strike.

In naming typhoons, its seems like the more fearsome the name, the tamer it turns out to be. The Top 20 strongest typhoons on record have harmless names. One rule of thumb, though. Don't name your typhoons in honor of presidential couples.

Typhoons Gloria and Mike were both retired for causing severe damages to their country. Gloria as a typhoon was destructive in 1957, 1996 and 2002. It was retired in 2006 to give way to Glenda. Mike, known here as Ruping, hit the country in November 12, 1990. It caused over $14 million in damage ($20.8 million 2005 USD) and over 250 peopel were killed. Mike was replaced by Manny, who so far packed a much lesser wallop than Pacquiao.

The 2nd strongest supertyphoon on record, in terms of lowest atmospheric pressure, even has the official name of Typhoon Gay. Typhoon Gay packed 185 miles per hour winds when it hit Marianas Islands in November 1992 but it caused surprisingly low damage in the islands.
Cyclone Mahina, a Category 5 cyclone (the most powerful of the tropical cyclone severity categories) hit Australia on March 1899 and killed over 400 people. Mahina, which means "weak" in Filipino, is still considered the deadliest natural disaster in Australia.

The largest and most intense tropical cyclone on record is inappropriately known as Typhoon Tip. It measured at 870 millibar and hit Japan in 1979. Like Cimaron, it greatly weakened after hitting landfall but still caused flood damage in Japan.

Typhoon Ivan (Narsing) and Joan, the 3rd and 4th strongest typhoons in terms of lowest atmospheric pressure, both hit the Philippines in October 1997 with peak winds of 185 mph only 1,000 kilometers from each other. Narsing weakened to category 4 when it hit Northern Luzon and caused only one death while Joan strengthened but did not hit land.
There was also an earlier Typhoon Joan (Sening) which hit Philippines in October 1970. Sening hit Catanduanes in October 13, 1970 and moved across Luzon, eventually killing 768 people and causing damage worth US$74 million at that time.

But Joan was not among those typhoon names retired by the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center and the Japanese Meteorological Agency. It was however retired by PAGASA including three others in 1970 (Pitang, Titang and Yoling (Patsy)). The others are Dading,(1964); Wening, (1974); Didang, (1976); Atang and Heling (1978); Nitang (Ike) and Undang (1984); Herming and Sisang (1987); Unsang and Yoning (1988); Ruping (Mike), (1990); Uring (Thelma), (1991) and Rosing, (1995).

Among those names retired by JTWC and JMA which hit the Philippines are such "harmless" names like Lucille, Mike, Ike, Bess and Thelma. Only Imbudo, which means funnel or spout, was apt, when it hit Luzon in July 2003. It killed 21 people and damage worth $37 million. It got worse when it hit Southern China, killing 20 and causing more than $300 million damage. Imbudo was retired and replaced with Molave.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typhoon Uring? Did it buttfuck the islands?

12:05 AM  

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