OUR hurricane, Asian typhoon: 1 water, the other, wind

World map with the areas affected by typhoons and hurricanes.; 2c x 2 inches; 96.3 mm x 50 mm;

WASHINGTON – the Nature expresses his anger in various ways. Two deadly storms — Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut — roared ashore on the same day, half a world apart, but the manner in which they spread destruction was as different as water and wind.

Storms in the western Pacific in general hit with much higher wind and the people who live in their way are often poorer and more vulnerable, Princeton University hurricane and climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi said Saturday. That will probably determine the nature of the destruction.

Mangkhut made landfall Friday on the northeastern tip of the island of Luzon in the Philippines with top-of-the-scale Category 5 winds of 165 km / h. Florence had weakened to a Category 1 storm with 90 km / h winds by the time we arrived in North Carolina the coast.

A day after the landing of the faster moving Mangkhut was back out on open water — weakened, but the leadership in the South china Sea in the direction of China. Florence, meanwhile, was still to toil in South Carolina at a pace slower than a normal person runs. Saturday morning, it was already dumped more than 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, a record for North Carolina.

Experts say Mangkhut may end up being one of the more deadly storm. As of Saturday afternoon, the death count in the Philippines was slightly higher, but still far below that of other storms that the disaster-prone island nation. And with Mangkhut now the head in the direction of the densely populated southeast coast of China, it is probably more death and destruction. But Florence aqueous insured damage in total will eventually be higher, Ernst Rauch, head of climate research for the world’s largest reinsurer Munich Re, told the German media.

That is due to a combination of geography, climate, and human factors.

The western Pacific ocean, has two-and-a-half times more storms which reach the minimal hurricane strength of 74 km / h. It has three-and-a-half times more storms that reached major hurricane strength of 111 km / h, and three times more accumulated energy of those hurricanes, an index that measures not only the strength and number of storms, but how long they take, according to more than 65 years of storm data .

So far this year, there are 23 named storms in the western Pacific and 10 in the Atlantic ocean, the two regions is more than 30 percent busier than the average year. Hurricanes and typhoons are the same kind of storm; both are tropical cyclones, but those in the Pacific ocean west of the International date line are called typhoons.

The water in the western Pacific ocean is warmer, and warm water fuels storms. There are also a few pieces of the ground to get in the way and weaken them, said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

“If we ever go to a Category 6 (a speculated-on a level that is above the current instruments), the western Pacific ocean is where it is going to be,” said meteorologist Ryan Maue of

The Philippines has the tendency to hit almost every year, the Carolina ‘ s much less often but with a lot of close-calls, Maue said. That shows a large difference in the storm. Mangkhut is formed further to the south and stayed south in the warmer water. Florence was from the tropics as it hit land.

Because of that, Florence was weakened by the dry air and upper level winds of the higher latitudes. Not so in the more southern Mangkhut, which Maue said: “in essence, had a perfect environment to intensify to a Category 5 and stay there.”

“Mangkhut and Florence are definitely different animals,” said Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. Because Florence is moving so slowly, he said, it will dump more rain than Mangkhut, which is named after the Thai word for the fruit.

Both storms lasted for a long time, especially Florence, who formed all the way near Africa 15 days before landfall, McNoldy said. Both storms cover a large area, but Mangkut still dwarfs Florence. Mangkhut tropical storm force winds stretched more than 325 km from the centre of Florence, spread over 195 km, Klotzbach said.

The economy also plays a role in a storm of the impact. As a developing country, the Philippines is much poorer than the south-east of the United States, which means that the homes will be less firm and the workers less well-equipped, with among other factors. This is one reason why, when disaster does strike, the effects can be devastating. In 2013 one of the most powerful storms on record, Typhoon Haiyan killed 7,300 people and displaced more than 5 million as he swept across the islands of the central Philippines.

About the famous Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is also bedeviled by volcanoes and earthquakes, and while there are significant patches of poverty in North and South Carolina, is not the same as the rural area where Mangkhut hit.

Munich Re is Rauch said about 30 to 50 percent of the storm damage is usually assured in the United States, but often less than 10 percent in the developing countries, which means that nine-tenths of the people hit will end up shouldering a greater economic burden.

In the United States, “you can’t move houses, but the people can move out of the way,” given the mounting damage caused by storms and often have lower losses in the life, Vecchi said.

As the world heats up from the burning of fossil fuels, the whole world will see more and more extremely intense storms such as Mangkhut and wetter storms such as Florence, Vecchi said.


Frank Jordans contribution of Berlin, Aaron Favila and Joeal Calupitan contribution of the Philippines.


Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears . His work can be found here .


The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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