Super Typhoon Megi Hits Northern Phillipines Monday

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Typhoon hits Phillipines

Super Typhoon Megi, or Typhoon Juan as known by some, has made landfall near the Luzon Island town of Palanan Bay in the Isabela Province, downing trees, utility poles, and power lines. It had maximum sustained winds of 225 kph (140 mph) and gusts up to 260 kph (162 mph). As it made landfall, winds were recorded at 178 mph with gusts up to 217 mph before weakening slightly as it made landfall. The storm is very big and has resulted in flooding in Vietnam, which has swept away a bus and left 20 people missing, and another 17 clinging to trees or power poles whom were later saved. Thailand is also experiencing flooding that has immobilized parts of the nation, inundating thousands of homes and vehicles and stopping train service, however, no casualties have been reported yet.

The surface pressure was recorded at 893 mb as 12 UTC which ranks Megi as the 20th strongest typhoon ever recorded in the Western Pacific. By comparison, only 3 Atlantic hurricanes were more intense than this storm, with those being Wilma in 2005 at 882 mb, Gilbert in 1988 at 888 mb , and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 at 892 mb, and makes Megi’s intensity by far the seasons worst hurricane, beating out the other 2 Category 5 storms, Ului and Celia. It is possible for the storm to intensify further after it leaves land and heads out to open waters. It is the 13th typhoon of the year, and with 260 kph wind speeds, it ranks as the strongest in the northwest Pacific since 1990.

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Projected Path for Storm

The storm is expected to enter the South China Sea on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010. The VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam Race, which is organized by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) has been postponed due to the potential impact of Super Typhoon Megi. The race, scheduled to start on October 20th, 2010, and sponsored by VinaCapital, a Vietnam investments and real estate company, since 2004 is one of the great Ocean races, and described by the winner of the 2008 VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam Race winner, Neil Pryde as “the race that nobody wants to miss”. The race was pioneered by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in 1996, and covers over 656 nautical miles in the tropical waters from Hong Kong, China to Nah Trang, Vietnam.

The storm is expected to weaken considerably while over land, but sustain its Typhoon strength as it crosses over the Cordillera Mountain Range and then re-emerge in the South China Sea. Super Typhoon Megi is then expected to re-organize and gradually re-intensify as it tracks slowly north of west toward a weakness in the subtropical steering ridge. Megi is expected to later head to China where authorities have evacuated 140,000 people from a coastal province, and may head towards Vietnam, where 27 deaths are already reported from flooding in recent days, not including those from the 20 missing from the bus accident.

China’s National Meteorological Center said Megi was expected to enter the South China Sea on Tuesday, posing a severe threat to southeastern coastal provinces and the center has issued its second-highest alert for potential “wild winds and huge waves,” warning vessels to take shelter and urging authorities and citizens to brace for emergencies.

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