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[Causes of Wind] [Types of Winds] [Hail Storm] [Hurricane] [Tornado] [Typhoon] [Wind Erosion]
Typhoon

What is a  Typhoon  or Tropical cyclone?

The term "typhoon" are regionally specific names for a strong "tropical cyclone". A tropical cyclone is the generic term for a non-frontal synoptic scale low-pressure system over tropical or sub-tropical waters with organized convection (i.e. thunderstorm activity) and definite cyclonic surface wind circulation.

Tropical cyclones with maximum sustained surface winds of less than 17 m/s (34 kt, 39 mph) are called "tropical depressions". (This is not to be confused with the condition mid-latitude people get during a long, cold and grey winter wishing they could be closer to the equator ;-)) Once the tropical cyclone reaches winds of at least 17 m/s they are typically called a "tropical storm" and assigned a name. If winds reach 33 m/s (64 kt, 74 mph)), then they are called: a "hurricane" (the North Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Pacific Ocean east of the dateline, or the South Pacific Ocean east of 160E); a "typhoon" (the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline); a "severe tropical cyclone" (the Southwest Pacific Ocean west of 160E or Southeast Indian Ocean east of 90E); a "severe cyclonic storm" (the North Indian Ocean); and a "tropical cyclone" (the Southwest Indian Ocean).

Note that just the definition of "maximum sustained surface winds" depends upon who is taking the measurements. The World Meteorology Organization guidelines suggest utilizing a 10 min average to get a sustained measurement. Most countries utilize this as the standard. However the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) of the USA use a 1 min averaging period to get sustained winds. This difference may provide complications in comparing the statistics from one basin to another as using a smaller averaging period may slightly raise the number of occurrences.


What is a super-typhoon?

"Super-typhoon" is a term utilized by the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center for typhoons that reach maximum sustained 1-minute surface winds of at least 65 m/s (130 kt, 150 mph). This is the equivalent of a strong Saffir-Simpson category 4 or category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin or a category 5 severe tropical cyclone in the Australian basin.


Typhoon-related Calamities

Typhoons are undoubtedly one of the mightiest and most devastating forces of nature. They travel great distances and last long enough in the atmosphere to wreck a path of fear and destruction in their wake.


                  Some of the dangers associated with typhoons are:

  • Storm surge - Storm surge is a large dome of water often 50 to 100 miles wide that sweeps across the coastline near where a typhoon makes landfall. The stronger the typhoon and the shallower the offshore water, the higher the surge will be. Along the immediate coast, storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property.

  • Heavy rain  - Widespread torrential rains can produce deadly and destructive floods.

  • High winds - Typhoon force winds can destroy poorly constructed buildings and other structures. Debris become flying missiles in typhoons. Strong gusts can down trees and power lines causing massive disruption.


Weather Advisories and Warnings
The Malaysian Meteorological Service maintains a constant vigilance on the weather throughout the year. During the "typhoon season", monitoring efforts are intensified as the position and behavior of all typhoons in the western North Pacific region are meticulously tracked. This information forms an integral part of the flight weather information provided to the aviation and shipping sectors.
The different categories of weather statements, outlooks, advisories and warnings issued to the mass media are:
  • Heavy Rainfall Advisories - issued when there is a possibility of heavy rainfall occurrence within 24 to 48 hours.

  • Heavy Rainfall Warning - issued when latest information received indicate that heavy rainfall is expected.

  • Strong Wind and Rough Sea Advisories - issued when there is a possibility of strong wind and rough seas within Malaysian waters within 24 to 48 hours.

  • Strong Wind and Rough Seas Warnings - issued when latest information received indicate that strong wind and rough seas are expected.


Emergency Precaution
  • Listen to the radio and television for regular broadcasts of weather bulletins and other announcements.

  • Take appropriate measures to avoid possible damage or loss of life due to flooding if a tropical storm develops or moves into your vicinity.

  • When driving in highland areas under torrential rain, watch out for landslips.

  • If a tropical storm is expected to hit your area, secure all loose objects that could be blown away by strong winds.

  • Avoid going out to sea when a tropical storm or typhoon approaches.

  • Prepare to evacuate if you live in coastal areas or near river banks.


Beware of Post-Typhoon Hazards

Wet carpets and furniture, combined with dirt and a humid environment, can create another problem -- mold. Although most people are not affected, those with allergies can develop asthma-like symptoms.

"Hygiene is very important," says Dr. A.J. Smith, an ophthalmologist. "Whatever allergens near the face and eyes need to be flushed out. I would just encourage almost seemingly excessive hygiene for your eyes and face, and seek attention if it doesn't resolve by a day or two."

Cleaning

Residents can use a 10 percent bleach solution in water to clean and sanitize walls and some furniture, although it's also likely to discolor fabric, said Jim McFerran, sales and service manager for Advance Management. Whatever towel, sponges, and other items you clean with should be sealed in a trash bag and thrown away, and the clothes you wear when cleaning should be washed in hot water, if possible.

"For carpet cleaning, you want a professional to do it. Anything a normal person could do would be less effective and not long-term," he said. "If mold is already there, we can use certain commercial chemicals and steam cleaning, which also kills the mold."

McFerran said his office has received many calls from people trying to rescue their carpets. He said they can expect to pay up to 40 cents per square foot to have a carpet cleaned.

"The No. 1 thing we tell our customers is that if the carpet is wet, get the furniture off of it or put something, anything between the two," he said.

"Don't wait. The natural matter or stain from the wood will be leached into the carpet, and it won't come out."

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