Sunday, September 16

Typhoon Mangkhut and Hurricane Florence. What a pair. UPDATED 7:40 AM EDT

Mangkhut has struck near Hong Kong, from this CNN report published at 6:04 AM EDT. Very serious storm; might be the worst Hong Kong has recorded since they started keeping records in the 1940s.
... At 4 p.m. local time, the storm was 110 kilometers (68 miles) west-southwest of Hong Kong, and heading for the surrounding Pearl River Delta, home to 120 million people, the HKO reported later Sunday. Mangkhut was expected to make landfall sometime Sunday evening in southern mainland China. ...
CNN also has an updated report as of 5:17 AM EDT on Florence; it's weakened to a tropical depression but the flash floods it's causing are "far" from over. 


Holy Cow! Mangkhut's peak winds, just before landfall in the Philippines, clocked in at 180 mph. Florence, eat your heart out. But I'll bet Mangkhut has nothing on Florence's rain totals. Florence got so pokey it was able to dump unbelievable amounts of rain when it finally meandered onto land. Parts of eastern North Carolina got 2 feet of rain in some areas. As of last night Florence was moving at just 3 mph, so it's going to continue to dump epic amounts of water before it meanders off to somewhere. 

Well well this has been a very strange weekend weatherwise. Where to begin? We'll start with the typhoon. No let's start with the hurricane. What's the difference between the two? They're the same -- both are officially tropical cyclones. Just different names in different parts of the world. 

From ABC News, 9/15 - 7:03 PM EDT:
Florence's dangerous flooding "is only going to get worse," North Carolina's director of emergency management warned Saturday as massive amounts of rain devastate the state.
"We have never seen flash flooding like this in our state," state Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon added at a press conference Saturday afternoon.
Trogdon said flash flooding will last for several days and river and marine flooding could last up to a week.
"We just don't want people to think this thing is over, because it's not," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper added Saturday of Florence, which made landfall near Wrightsville Beach Friday morning as a hurricane and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.
"We know the water is rising fast everywhere -- even in places that don't typically flood," Cooper said.
Catastrophic flooding has already wreaked havoc on parts of eastern North Carolina, which sustained 2 feet of rain in some areas, and up to 40 inches in other hard-hit spots.
Newport, North Carolina, reported 23.75 inches of rainfall by Saturday morning.
Hoffman, North Carolina, has seen 19.96 inches and Conway, South Carolina, has seen 8.68 inches -- with two days of rainfall to come.
First responders and volunteers are going door to door, by boat and air, navigating dangerous currents to get to those who are trapped.
"It's pretty dire right now," trapped resident Jackie Mallard told ABC News. "The streets are almost like you need gondolas."
Also from the ABC report:

> At least 13 people were reported dead in the storm, with three in South Carolina and the other 10 in North Carolina. [14 dead, from the Charlotte Observer]

> There were nearly 800,000 people without power in North and South Carolina combined Saturday evening.

Now to the typhoon.

From ABC News, 9/15 - 4:41 PM EDT, Morgan Windsor reporting:

The strongest storm on Earth in 2018 barreled through the northern Philippines before dawn on Saturday, bringing with it ferocious winds and torrential rain.

Typhoon Mangkhut, known locally as Ompong, made landfall in Cagayan province on northeast Luzon island at 1:40 a.m. local time, according to the country's weather agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. It's estimated that the tropical cyclone put at least five million people at risk.

Mangkhut, considered the strongest storm on the planet so far this year, was the 15th [typhoon? tropical storm?] to hit the Philippines. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center U.S. Navy-U.S. Air Force command, located in Hawaii, had downgraded Mangkhut from a "super typhoon," when it had peak wind speeds of 180 mph, prior to landfall on the country's largest and most populous island.

Mangkhut weakened slightly as it reached Luzon's mountainous coastline early Saturday morning; however, it was still packing winds equivalent to a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. 

[The highest level on the scale is Cat 5 -- storms with sustained winds exceeding 156 mph.]

Its tropical storm-force winds extended 550 miles across, according to the country's weather agency, making it nearly double the size of Florence, the hurricane turned tropical storm that made landfall over the southeastern United States on Friday.

Mangkhut's high winds churned rough seas as it moved across Luzon, producing waves nearly 30 feet high, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The heavy rain triggered landslides that reportedly claimed the lives of several people in the area. [The CNN report puts the death toll so far at 40 people.]

Francis Tolentino, an adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, said at least 12 people died, mostly due to landslides, according to The Associated Press.

Global nonprofit Oxfam said it deployed teams of responders to the area to assess the damage and provide disaster relief.

"The situation is very bad," Oxfam's April Abello-Bulanadi said in a statement from Tuguegarao City. "The winds are howling and we can feel the destructive force of Ompong. The roof of the hotel where the response team convened has been blown away. We are on the third floor. The walls and ceiling are shaking. It has been raining nonstop."

Mangkhut has been tracked northwestward at about 16 mph over the past six hours, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

The cyclone is forecast to make another landfall over southeastern China, just west of Hong Kong on Sunday, and will ultimately dissipate over the rugged terrain.

ABC News' Brittany Borer contributed to this report.



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