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article imageTyphoon Mangkhut rips through northern Philippines 14 dead

By Ken Hanly     Sep 15, 2018 in Environment
North and South Carolina were hit by the hurricane Florence coming from the Atlantic Ocean and it is still raining in the area but Typhoon Mangkhut has now hit and passed right through the north part of the large north island in the Philippines of Luzon.
Death toll greater than from Florence
The BBC reports a presidential adviser as saying the death toll from Mangkhut at 14 people so far about twice as many as from Florence in the US.
Unlike Florence, Mangkhut ripped through the north of the main island of Luzon quickly and is now on its way further west towards China. It had already wreaked havoc on the island of Guam. In Luzon the storm tore off roofs, downed trees, and started 42 landslides as well as flooding some areas extensively. Some winds were 185 kilometers per hour about 115 miles per hour, stronger than Florence's winds on shore.
Five million people were in the path of the storm and thousands were evacuated. The storm traveled from east to west across the north of Luzon.
The damage
In Tuguegarao, the capital of the north-eastern Cagayan province, a government official claimed that almost all buildings in the city had some damage and in places communications were down.
Two rescuers died trying to aid people trapped in a landslide. The evacuation center in the coastal town of Aparri is said to have been destroyed and phone networks are down.
The mayor of Baguio City a popular tourist spot especially in the summer claimed that five were killed there and a similar number were missing. He said the sewer system was being overwhelmed by flood waters.
Jonathan Head, a BBC correspondent, said he saw 200 people who took shelter in a school had to be re-evacuated after a dike that held back a swollen river was about to break. Head said that it would be some time before the cost to agriculture an important feature of the region could be assessed.
Preparations for the typhoon were improved
The Philippines is routinely hit during the typhoon season. Philippine authorities claim that they were better prepared for Mangkhut than for previous typhoons
Warnings were issued in dozens of provinces. Travel by air and sea was restricted. Many flights were cancelled. Schools were shut and the army was on standby.
The storm is moving fast and is scheduled to hit China by late Sunday or early Monday.
Comparison of Florence and Mangkhut
Hurricanes and typhoons are basically the same but the term "typhoon" is used for storms in the western Pacific west of the International date line. Both are tropical cyclones.
Storms in the western Pacific generally have much higher winds, and the people affected by them are often poorer and more vulnerable according to Gabriel Vechhi a Princeton University hurricane and climate scientist. This is likely to determine the type of destruction.
Mangkhut made landfall on Friday on the northeastern tip of Luzon Friday with the top of the scale winds of 165 mph a Category 5 on the hurricane scale. In contrast when it reached shore Florence weakened to a category 1 storm when it arrived on the North Carolina coast. Of course winds die down after landfall and further from the center.
However Mangkhut moved much faster than Florence. The next day Mangkhut was over open water heading for China. Florence was still moving at a very slow walking pace over North and parts of South Carolina. It had dumped 30 inches of rain a record for North Carolina by Saturday morning with more to come.
There are more storms in the western Pacific than in the Atlantic with 23 named storms in the Pacific to only 10 in the Atlantic. Both areas are 30 percent busier this year than last.
Hurricane researcher at the University of Miami Brian McNoldy pointed out that the western Pacific has warmer water than the Atlantic and this provides more fuel for storms. There are also few pieces of land to slow them down. The Philippines tends to be hit almost every year by typhoons but the Carolinas less frequently. Florence was out of the tropics before it landed whereas Mangkhut was still in warm tropical water.
While both Florence and Mangkhut are large, Mangkhut is by far the largest. covering 325 miles with storm force winds while Florence spread about 195 miles. Houses in the Philippines are often poorly constructed and less sturdy than those in the southeastern US. As a result the results can be devastating. In 2013 Typhoon Haiyan killed 7,300 people and displaced more than 5 million when it swept across the islands of the central Philippines.
More about Typhoon Mangkut, Hurricane Florence, Luzon
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