Differing forecasts widen scope of Typhoon Hagupit

Typhoon Hagupit is currently 450 kilometers from the country's eastern coast in the Pacific Ocean and moving slowly.

By: Reuters | Manila (phillipines) | Updated: December 5, 2014 5:20 pm
This image captured by NASA's Aqua satellite shows Typhoon Hagupit on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 at 04:30 UTC in the western Pacific Ocean.(Source: AP) This image captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite shows Typhoon Hagupit on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 at 04:30 UTC in the western Pacific Ocean.(Source: AP)

A ferocious and dangerously erratic typhoon blew closer to the Philippines Friday, as differing forecasts about its path _ one predicting it will graze the capital Manila _ prompted a much wider swath of the country to prepare for a weekend of destructive winds and rain.

Typhoon Hagupit _Filipino for “Smash” _ was expected to blast in from the Pacific Ocean into central Philippines late Saturday, lashing parts of a region that was devastated by last year’s Typhoon Haiyan and left more than 7,300 people dead and missing. Still, the good news was that the typhoon was weakening as it blew closer to the coast.

“I’m scared,” said Haiyan survivor Jojo Moro. “I’m praying to God not to let another disaster strike us again. We haven’t recovered from the first.”

The 42-year-old businessman who lost his wife, daughter and mother last year in central Tacloban city, said he stocked up on sardines, instant noodles, eggs and water.

At least 47 of the country’s 81 provinces are considered potentially at high risk from Hagupit, officials said. The first one in its path is the Eastern Samar province where it will make landfall. It is then expected to cut across central islands along a route north. But its path thereafter is debatable.

The computer models of the two agencies tracking the typhoon closely _ the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii and the Philippine weather agency _ showed different tracks for the typhoon.

The U.S. agency said Hagupit (pronounced HA’-goo-pit) may veer north after coming inland and sweep past the southern edge of the capital Manila, a city of more than 12 million people. The Philippine agency, known by its acronym PAGASA, projected a more southern track. But both tracks appeared to be coming closer together as the landfall time approaches.

Also, both agencies said the typhoon is slowly losing strength. PAGASA said it is now packing winds of 195 kilometers (121 miles) per hour and gusts of 230 kph (143 mph). The U.S. center in Hawaii downgraded the typhoon’s status from a super typhoon and said it was expected to continue losing strength with winds dropping to 175 kph (108 mph) by Sunday morning.

“Although it’s been reported that the typhoon has lost strength, it doesn’t mean that our readiness will also weaken,” said Alexander Pama, who heads the country’s disaster-response agency.

Haunted by the country’s ordeal with Haiyan, which caught people unprepared to deal with its ferocity, authorities and villagers seemed readier this time to respond to the impending crisis.

A soldier watches as workers unload sacks of rice supplies which are intended for typhoon evacuees Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 in Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines. (Source: AP) A soldier watches as workers unload sacks of rice supplies which are intended for typhoon evacuees Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 in Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines. (Source: AP)

Dozens of domestic flights were canceled and inter-island ferry services were suspended.

In Tacloban, the central city where Haiyan’s tsunami-like storm surges left thousands dead and wiped out entire villages, and in outlying provinces, tens of thousands of residents have been moved from high-risk villages to emergency shelters.

“We’ve not heard of villagers resisting to be evacuated,” regional disaster-response director Blanche Gobenciong said. “Their trauma is still so fresh.”

Gobenciong said the unpredictable path of the typhoon made it harder to ascertain which areas would be hit.

“We have a zero-casualty target,” she said. “Just one loss of life will really sadden us all and make us wonder what went wrong.”

“We have alerted the people of Manila and we’re ready,”

“Hagupit’s erratic behavior prompted the government to call an emergency meeting of mayors of metropolitan Manila. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said he’d rather “over-prepare than under-prepare.”

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said that authorities have alerted residents. “We are ready,” he said, but pointed out that “these typhoons change direction all the time.”

Haiyan demolished about 1 million houses and displaced some 4 million people in the central Philippines. Hundreds of residents still living in tents in Tacloban have been prioritized in the ongoing evacuation.

Dr Steven Godby, an expert in natural hazards at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, said the Philippines experiences five to 10 cyclones a year on an average, the most hitting any country.

He said the right oceanic conditions to create deadly typhoons “come together in the western Pacific and put the Philippines in the firing line as a result.”

Cyclones also need a force “to give them an initial rotation and this is provided by the spin of the Earth through the Coriolis force, but in a narrow `sweet spot’ of between 5-12 degree north and south of the equator,” he said.

“Isolated island groups like the Philippines are particularly vulnerable to tropical cyclones and the threats come from the high winds, storm surge and heavy rains these storms bring,” he said.

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App now

  1. L
    Lemon Jello
    Dec 5, 2014 at 9:41 pm
    A typhoon in the Phillipines? As shocking as snow in the winter in the northeast U.S.Here's one for the revolution.s:www.youtube/watch?....
    Reply
    1. Z
      Zstimman
      Dec 5, 2014 at 5:41 pm
      If it is global warming, why just that area? Why not in North America ? Chicago just reported it's coldest month ever.
      Reply
      1. B
        Biff
        Dec 6, 2014 at 1:57 am
        This is a silly post. There is no evidence that "Global Warming" causes Earthquakes. If that were so, there would be no more earthquakes - because the earth has been cooling for the last 10 years - not warming.
        Reply
        1. B
          Biff
          Dec 6, 2014 at 2:00 am
          What does this post have to do with the approaching Typhoon? Stay on topic, some of us are trying to share information. Thanks.
          Reply
          1. A
            Alan Farva
            Dec 5, 2014 at 12:50 pm
            How does one apply for that? Sounds interesting.
            Reply
            1. W
              War_Machine2
              Dec 5, 2014 at 1:35 am
              Pray for them.
              Reply
              1. W
                War_Machine2
                Dec 5, 2014 at 12:29 am
                Praying for them.......
                Reply
                1. B
                  Barack O'Corndog
                  Dec 6, 2014 at 3:21 am
                  I think it's safe to blame Barack Obama for this storm. :youtu.be/wDElrVe34pc
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    Barb
                    Dec 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm
                    This area is on the "ring of fire." It has and will always have earthquakes and typhoons. It has absolutely nothing to do with "global warming." :earthquake.usgs.gov/lea...
                    Reply
                    1. X
                      XPatinPH
                      Dec 5, 2014 at 9:40 pm
                      This country has been facing these issues forever... not global warming. Life is quite good there. More free than US
                      Reply
                      1. X
                        XPatinPH
                        Dec 5, 2014 at 9:41 pm
                        ever been there?
                        Reply
                        1. T
                          Texas Nexus
                          Dec 4, 2014 at 7:43 pm
                          Save the party girls!
                          Reply
                          1. C
                            Cosmic Charlie
                            Dec 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm
                            Warming schmorming. Only s believe it is caused by humans. Look at the violent changes in the history of the Earth's climate.
                            Reply
                            1. C
                              Canis Dirus
                              Dec 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm
                              But that is exactly what they do. I am disma at science's attempts to deflect hurricanes. They have a purpose. Work with it, not against it.
                              Reply
                              1. C
                                Canis Dirus
                                Dec 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm
                                Drop the ego... it's mother nature.
                                Reply
                                1. C
                                  Charles Scruffy
                                  Dec 5, 2014 at 2:28 am
                                  thats scary
                                  Reply
                                  1. Z
                                    Zafer
                                    Dec 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm
                                    Hope it only hits the Muslim sectors. That would be a big help actually.
                                    Reply
                                    1. J
                                      jessa m
                                      Dec 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm
                                      true ^
                                      Reply
                                      1. B
                                        Bill Cymbalsky
                                        Dec 5, 2014 at 7:29 am
                                        Move
                                        Reply
                                        1. D
                                          dshevlin
                                          Dec 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm
                                          These people are going through out of control global warming. The area has major earthquakes nearly every single day and for a while now. Just last week ( 11/26/14 ) they had FOURTEEN earthquakes in ONE day!! This my friends IS global warming and anyone tells you it is a hoax is a LIAR. Global warming is a GLOBE WARMING and equals earthquakes, volcanic eruptions (which this area also is experiencing) and extreme weather. Pray for these people they need it. An "I felt it" comment from just one of these 14 quakes said: "Every week there was always earthquake...It started with the 7.3 magnitude last week, continue with 5.8 and now 6.8....keep alert guys" Now while they rumble from quakes a typhoon is threatening too. Imagine what life is like there.
                                          Reply
                                          1. C
                                            Celtic Crazy
                                            Dec 4, 2014 at 11:01 pm
                                            Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. My prayers are with the people of the Philippines tonight....
                                            Reply
                                            1. Load More Comments