Odette a super typhoon? Not quite, says PAGASA

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TYPHON Odette (international name: Rai) was a super typhoon, unlike previous predictions, a United Nations official said as he mobilized the international community to help the more than 2 million Filipinos left homeless and powerless due to the monster typhoon.

“Contrary to forecasts, Rai intensified from a tropical storm to a super typhoon hours before making landfall,” Gustavo Gonzalez, United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator wrote in the United Nations assessment report on humanitarian needs and priorities for Typhoon Odette.

A super typhoon is defined by the Philippine meteorological office, Pagasa, as having winds of 220 kilometers per hour and a wave height of more than 14 meters on the high seas.

Visually, this would mean: extensive damage to high-risk structures, very significant damage to medium-risk structures, significant damage to low-risk structures, almost total damage to light structures in highly exposed coastal areas, complete failure roofing on many residences and industrial buildings; extensive and extensive damage to windows and doors, most mixed construction residential and institutional buildings can be severely damaged, power distribution and communication services severely disrupted, and all billboards / billboards blown out.

Damage to vegetation will also be catastrophic: most large trees are broken, uprooted or defoliated, coconut palms are arrested, broken or uprooted and only a few plants and trees have survived.

All of these descriptions of a super typhoon have been seen over Siargao Island, Dinagat Islands, Cebu, Surigao Del Norte, and other parts of the Visayas, Mindanao, and central and southern Palawan Island.

Not enough

However, a meteorologist said that Odette did not fit their classic definition of a super typhoon?

Not quite, says Ana Clauren, a weather forecaster in the Meteorological Division of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Asked by BusinessMirror, Clauren said that while Odette’s havoc on Visayas and Mindanao conjured up post-Yolanda images, it still fell under the “typhoon category.”

“The maximum sustained winds from Odette reached up to 195 kilometers per hour. To reach the Super Typhoon category, the maximum sustained winds would have to be above 220 km / h, ”she explained in Filipino.

She explained further: It just happened that the impact of Odette was severe in the affected areas that some people call it “Super Typhoon”

“It doesn’t have to be a super typhoon to be destructive. Even if it is only a typhoon, if there are landings and the area affected by the typhoon is populated with houses made of light materials, then expect severe devastation. If a typhoon is accompanied by strong winds, causes excessive precipitation and makes landfall, expect serious damage, ”she said.

She noted that even the severe tropical storm category can be very destructive.

“Each typhoon has its own impact, especially if it hits land several times,” she explained.

Pagasa’s forecast for the strength of Typhoon Odette was as follows:

■ 150 km / h on December 16, 5 a.m. https://pubfiles.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/tamss/weather/bulletin/TCB%239_odette.pdf

■ 165 km / h on December 16, 8 a.m. https://pubfiles.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/tamss/weather/bulletin/TCB%239_odette.pdf

■ 185 km / h on December 16, 11 a.m. https://pubfiles.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/tamss/weather/bulletin/TCB%2310_odette.pdf

■ 195 km / h on December 16, 2 p.m. https://pubfiles.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/tamss/weather/bulletin/TCB%2311_odette.pdf

At 8 a.m., Signal 3 was hoisted in southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, northern part of Agusan del Norte and northern part of Surigao del Sur. Three hours later, at 11 a.m., Signal 4 was hoisted in southern Leyte, eastern part of Bohol, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, including Siargao Islands and Bucas Grande.

Odette first triggered her anger around 1 p.m.

Residents of Siargao and Dinagat claimed that Odette was more powerful than Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), the most powerful storm to ever hit Earth.

Two other international weather forecasting agencies predicted a supertyphon force.

The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center, which monitors the weather in the Pacific and Indian Oceans for the US Department of Defense, estimated Rai to be a Category 5 hurricane. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) measured the speed of Rai’s Wind and rated it as a Category 4.

JTWC and JMA both used Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale — JTWC analyzing force based on a one-minute average, while JMA calculated based on a 10-minute average.

“Either way, Rai was a storm monster,” accuweather.com indicated in its report.

Gonzalez said scientists will debate in the coming months the monstrous force of Super Typhoon Odette formed at the end of the year, its attribution to climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable countries like the Philippines.

But for now, he said, the important thing is to meet the immediate needs of the 2.4 million most vulnerable Filipinos in the six affected regions. “The trajectory of needs and the required scale of response paint a dire picture,” he added.

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