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Super Typhoon Bopha Now Twice as Deadly as Sandy

December 11, 2012; 6:34 AM

The people of the Philippines are continuing to pick up the pieces in the wake of what was Super Typhoon Bopha (locally known as Pablo).

The storm tore through the island of Mindanao late on Monday (eastern time) in the Philippines packing 160-mph winds, flooding rain and damaging storm surge. Gusts near 200 mph were at one time estimated near the center of the storm.

In the wake of the storm, the people of the region continue to count the dead and dig through the ruins. Over 620 people have been killed, 1,448 were injured, and over 817 more are missing according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRAMC). Relative to Hurricane Sandy, which has killed 253 people in seven countries, Bopha has already been blamed for more than twice as many deaths in only one country. The NDRRAMC does note that 69 people have been rescued by search parties in the past couple of days.

On top of the death toll, over 322,043 people have been left homeless according to the NDRRAMC.

Entire villages were swept away by the powerful storm. Even after the wind died down, landslides and floods continued the destruction.

Other than the immediate impacts of the storm, long term impacts are expected. Agriculture, the main source of income for many in the region, was completely inundated in places, and the threat for disease spreading in the wake of the storm is feared. Looting has also been reported in the storms wake.

Travel has been impacted as well, with 11 bridges and nine roads being listed as "not passable".

Packing 155-mph winds at its zenith of power, Bopha held the rank of a "super typhoon," making it a truly rare storm for December. The storm strengthened rapidly late on Monday local time, prior to reaching the southern Philippines.

A super typhoon is defined as a typhoon having highest sustained winds of at least 130 knots, or 150 mph.

The last December super typhoon was Nanmadol, which briefly held the rank of super typhoon on Dec. 1, 2004. Nanmadol later struck the northern Philippines.


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