Typhoon Noul Is Gathering Strength As It Approaches Phillipines

Typhoon Noul is churning the waters of the West Pacific as it gathers strength, on course to potentially make landfall in Luzon, the most populated island of the Philippines, this weekend. The storm is the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane as of Friday at 3 p.m. ET, and is forecast to intensify at least to a Category 4 before weakening some and crossing the northern part of Luzon on May 10.

The storm is known as Cyclone Dodong in the Philippines, where it is given a local storm name from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administratio (PAGASA).

If this track and intensity forecast hold (which is far from guaranteed), the storm will likely miss making a direct hit on the capital city of Manila, which would be good news for the low-lying city that is prone to flooding from even weak tropical cyclones.

Tropical Cyclone Heat

However, areas of the northern part of Luzon could see winds as strong as 140 to 150 miles per hour when the storm passes overhead or just offshore this weekend.
The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, experiencing almost all types of geological hazards as well as frequent impacts from some of the strongest tropical cyclones to be found anywhere. Super Typhoon Haiyan, which struck in 2013, wiped out the city of Tacloban when it made landfall with a ferociousness that rivals any storm on record, with 190-mile-per-hour sustained winds and a storm surge that toppled trees off the sides of ocean-facing hillsides.

Noul Animation

Luckily, Typhoon Noul is not likely to get as strong as Haiyan did, but it will be traveling over ocean waters that will be warm enough to support a strengthening system. Conditions in the atmosphere will also be conducive to strengthening until it gets near Luzon, at which time some stronger winds in the upper atmosphere could begin to weaken the storm.

The Western North Pacific Ocean basin has already had an active period so far this year, with a measure of storm activity known as Accumulated Cyclone Energy, or ACE, that includes a storm’s intensity and duration, coming in at 407% of normal as of Friday afternoon. The typhoon season in this area is not limited to just a few months, as the Atlantic Hurricane Season is, mainly since the ocean waters remain warm all year round.

Meanwhile, another typhoon, to be named Dolphin, is likely to form behind Noul and intensify through early next week. That storm may affect Guam, which has a significant U.S. military presence, in the next five to seven days, if it does form.

Original Article: http://mashable.com/2015/05/08/typhoon-noul-growing-risk-philippines/

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