11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, Philippines time: Tropical Storm Hagupit has begun tracking southwest away from the west coast of the Philippines into the South China Sea. Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s latest forecast shows Hagupit packing 46-mph sustained winds and 58-mph gusts at its center, and it has passed closest point of approach to Metro Manila, Clark Free Economic Zone and Subic Bay Free Port.
At least 27 people were killed during Hagupit, 21 on eastern Samar Island alone, Philippine government and Red Cross officials told CNN and Reuters. Some 1,000 homes were destroyed, more than 1 million were evacuated from their homes, the storm downed trees and caused flooding in low-lying areas.
But the lessons of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated many of the same areas 13 months ago, were apparently learned well, officials said. About half the population of Tacloban, the city hardest hit by Haiyan last year, evacuated to safer ground, the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA Philippines told CNN.
“People didn’t have to be pushed any more,” Philippines Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon told CNN, mindful of efforts to evacuate large numbers of people from vulnerable east coastal areas, averting a repeat of last year’s disaster in which more than 7,000 died. “They knew they could face another Haiyan, and Haiyan killed a lot of people from storm surges.”
While wind associated with Hagupit was far less and storm surges less evident than with Haiyan, Hagupit was a far slower-moving storm, which meant the big worry was heavy rain and flooding, much of which occurred in eastern Samar and other islands south and east of Manila.
Some 25 million reside in Metro Manila and surrounding areas, but the capital only received just over an inch of rain and winds between 15 and 20 mph. Areas south and east got hit much harder and saw as much as 17 inches of rain in Catbalogan, on Samar island.
Assessment teams have already fanned out to Samar to survey damage, Reuters reported. Philippines armed forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang said local authorities were working with international groups. Officials have said 11 countries have pledged to send aid. Australia has pledged 800 metric tons of rice to people affected by Hagupit. Senior government officials have inspected Dolores, on Samar, where Hagupit made initial landfall, and saw damaged homes, fallen trees and posts blocking roads and villagers holding out in evacuation centers, Reuters reported.
Philippines president Benigno Aquino canceled a trip to Korea for the ASEAN summit this week to stay at home and work with officials to help the country recover from Hagupit, Aquino’s spokeswoman told Reuters.
Hagupit is now on a southwestern course toward Vietnam, and is forecast by JTWC to make landfall at 7 a.m. local time Friday as a tropical depression, about 80 miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Unless Hagupit regenerates over the South China Sea and becomes more of a threat to Vietnam, this is the final report on Hagupit, which at one time was the eighth super typhoon of the northwest Pacific’s season.
8 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, Philippines time: The worst appears to be over wind-wise for Metro Manila and surrounding areas, but the threat of heavy rain associated with Tropical Storm Hagupit continues, as it remains a slow-moving storm, grinding west-northwest at just over 5 mph, packing 46-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts at its center.
Hagupit made its closest point of approach about 55 miles south of Manila at 1 a.m. Tuesday, 83 miles south of the former Clark Air Base some three hours later and 52 miles south of the former Subic Bay Naval Station at about 8 a.m. Manila was still experiencing sustained 15-mph winds at 8 a.m., but rain remains in the forecast into late Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. Wind warnings of between 19 to 38 mph remain in effect for Metro Manila south to Mindoro and several provinces inbetween, the Weather Channel reported.
While Manila had received just over an inch of rain through early Tuesday, forecast calls for between 3 to 5 inches as Hagupit continues slowly moving west. Most heavy rain was concentrated south and east of the capital since last Friday. Catbalogan, on the eastern island of Samar where Hagupit first made landfall, got the most recorded rainfall, 17½ inches. Tabayas, just southeast of Manila, received 10.72 inches of rain. More than 25 people have perished and more than 1 million people have been evacuated, according to various reports.
Hagupit should continue moving west out over the South China Sea toward Vietnam, making landfall there as a tropical depression late Thursday or early Friday.
10:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, Philippines time: Hagupit continues to deteriorate and it appears as if Manila and the former Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station may be spared the worst of what remains of what is now a middling tropical storm. Observers on the ground say rain has been consistently light, though that may change, with 15-mph sustained winds and occasional gusts. Always best to prepare for worse, because any tropical cyclone's eastern quadrants possess more moisture and higher winds.
Joint Typhoon Warning Center projected Hagupit to pass 54 miles south of Manila at 11 p.m., 90 miles south of Clark at 5 a.m. Tuesday and 58 miles south of Subic at 7 a.m. Sustained winds at its center are 52 mph with 63-mph gusts.
Hagupit is next forecast to exit into the South China Sea by mid-morning Tuesday, then head west toward Vietnam, making landfall between Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh early Thursday evening.
PST will update again Tuesday morning.
3:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, Philippines time: Though Hagupit has been downgraded to a tropical storm, it’s still forecast to skim close by Metro Manila and the former Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station, still packing a rather powerful punch.
Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s mid-day forecast track has Hagupit rumbling 41 miles south of the capital at about 3 a.m. Tuesday, 83 miles south of Clark four hours later and 54 miles south of Subic at 11 a.m. Tuesday. It will still be packing 63-mph sustained winds and 81-mph gusts at its center.
Observers on the ground in Manila say there hasn’t been much wind and rain yet; expect that to pick up as Hagupit nears the capital. Heavy rain and localized flooding is expected along with 40-mph sustained winds and 55- to 65-mph gusts.
More than 1 million people have sought shelter or safer ground, The Associated Press reported, and while there’s been damage to shanties and tin roofs blown off structures, no major damage has been reported. Government offices shut down for the day as did schools in the metro area.
Still, people are being “lulled into a false sense of security,” free-lance journalist Tony Ahn told Storm Tracker. “People don’t believe it’s going to be bad tonight. Folks are still at the malls doing their Christmas shopping.”
This is precisely the wrong time to be out and about during the run-up to a tropical cyclone. It could pick up forward speed, the track could edge further north and the winds could be worse than forecast. And cars could end up being swamped in floods. The best approach: Stay indoors until the danger passes. Christmas shopping and other appointed rounds can wait, because one only gets one chance.
Get your safe on, Manila!
8:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 8, Philippines time: Hagupit is barely hanging on to its typhoon status, now packing Category 1-equivalent 75-mph sustained winds and 92-mph gusts at its center. Little change in wind values expected for Metro Manila and the former Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station, tropical storm-strength 35-mph sustained winds and gusts between 50 and 60 mph as Hagupit passes 55 miles south of the capital around 2 a.m. Tuesday, 92 miles south of Clark about 6 a.m. and 63 miles south of Subic at mid-morning. Heavy rain expected in all locales; expect flooding, common during times of heavy rain in the capital.
4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, Philippines time: Typhoon Hagupit has begun curving northwest after beginning its journey over the east-central Philippines islands. It’s still packing a powerful wallop, 98-mph sustained winds and 121-mph gusts at its center as it rumbled some 260 miles southeast of Manila around 2 p.m. Sunday.
Hagupit is still forecast to drift south of Metro Manila and the former Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station. Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects Hagupit to pass 67 miles south of the capital at 11 p.m. Monday, 104 miles south of Clark Free Economic Zone four hours after that and 74 miles south of Subic Bay Free Port around 6 a.m. Tuesday.
A meteorologist at the National Weather Service on Guam said Manila can expect tropical storm-force winds, 40-mph sustained and 60- to 70-mph gusts at its peak sometime Monday evening into Tuesday, along with heavy rain and flooding in low-lying areas, something common when heavy rains hit the city.
People within 35 miles of the storm can expect typhoon conditions, and tropical-storm conditions 100 to 150 miles away from Hagupit’s center, the meteorologist said. “Manila won’t be at the center, but it’s just a monster. And it’s a slow-moving storm,” he said of Hagupit which was moving west-northwest at 8 mph Sunday afternoon. “Manila is under the gun for severe weather.”
According to The Associated Press, some 650,000 people have already sought refuge in some 1,000 emergency shelters and safer ground – likely remembering the massive death and destruction wrought 13 months ago by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which leveled whole villages and cities in the central Philippines. The military has also been mobilized, taking preparations to attain a “zero-casualty target,” The AP reported.
Nearly a dozen countries led by the United States and the European Union have pledged help in case of a catastrophe similar to Haiyan, disaster-response agency chief Alexander Pama told The AP.
Several eastern villages are isolated by downed power and telephone lines were out of contact, Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman told The AP. Army soldiers deployed to supermarkets and major roads in provinces in Hagupit’s path to prevent looting and clear debris, which slowed recovery efforts last year in response to Haiyan.
“Haiyan was the best teacher of all,” Soliman said.
11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, Philippines time: Hagupit made landfall about 9:15 p.m. Saturday over Dolores in eastern Samar, according to the Philippines government crisis-response Web site and is moving west through the central Philippine islands, packing sustained 104-mph winds and 127-mph gusts.
Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects Hagupit to begin moving west-northwest over the next 12 hours, on a path taking it a bit further south of Metro Manila and the former Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station than previously forecast.
All three locales could avoid Hagupit’s worst; it’s forecast to track 76 miles south of Manila at 9 p.m. Monday, 115 miles south of Clark two hours later and 87 miles south of Subic early Tuesday morning, still as a Category 1-equivalent storm, 75-mph sustained winds and 92-mph gusts – which is what areas south of the capital should experience, if Hagupit remains on forecast track.
Hagupit is forecast to exit into the South China Sea on Wednesday. PST will keep an eye on it.
11:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, Philippines time: The news continues to get better, if only slightly, for Metro Manila and the former Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station regarding Hagupit, which has been downgraded from super-typhoon status. It remains a powerful Category 3-equivalent typhoon, ready to crash ashore along the eastern Philippines islands early Sunday morning, still packing sustained 127-mph sustained winds and 155-mph gusts. And it will likely come ashore in areas that were badly affected last November by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s latest forecast track shows Hagupit heading slightly west-southwest as it makes its way toward landfall. It’s projected to resume a west-northwest track, but should diminish rapidly as it interacts with land.
JTWC now projects Hagupit to pass 68 miles south of Manila at about 9 p.m. Monday, 101 miles south of the Clark Free Economic Zone about five hours later, then 69 miles south of Subic Bay Free Port. It should still be packing Category 1-equivalent winds, 86-mph sustained and 104-mph gusts. But while Manila, Clark and Subic may avoid the worst of it, areas south of Subic Bay should get a pretty powerful punch. Not as bad as Haiyan, but enough to set back efforts to rebuild the central Philippines after Haiyan devastated the area last November.
JTWC does say there is a vast disparity among the dynamic computer models as far as how fast Hagupit will move across the islands and what kind of winds it will be packing. Stay tuned. PST will keep an eye on things as Hagupit moves across the islands.
8:45 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, Philippines time: Hagupit remains a super typhoon, and the latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast has it tracking just south of Manila at about midnight Monday, packing Category 2-equivalent strength 92-mph sustained winds and 115-mph gusts as the center passes about 25 miles south of the capital. Hagupit is forecast to pass 56 miles south of the former Clark Air Base at 6 a.m. Tuesday and 23 miles south of the former Subic Bay Naval Station, packing similarly dangerous winds as it roars past. Landfall over the east-central Philippines islands is forecast for 2 a.m. Sunday, still packing projected 132-mph sustained winds and 161-mph gusts as it hits the coast. Not quite as bad as Haiyan a year ago, but still a very dangerous storm.
1:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, Philippines time: Hagupit remains like so many other tropical cyclones, unpredictable to the point of absolute uncertainty. After it appeared to be diminishing in strength, Hagupit has once more intensified into a super typhoon, and the Metro Manila area once more remains in Hagupit’s crosshairs for a near-direct hit. Not nearly as strong as Haiyan was a year ago, but still packing destructive winds that will make things nasty for the capital city come Tuesday.
If Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts hold, Hagupit should peak at 155-mph sustained winds and 190-mph gusts at mid-afternoon Saturday. At midnight Friday, Hagupit was about 535 miles east-southeast of Manila, tracking west-northwest at 7 mph.
If Hagupit remains on forecast track, PST sees it interacting with land around mid-day Sunday, but still packing quite a wallop as it rumbles ashore. Hagupit should be tracking about 30 miles south of Manila early Tuesday morning, still packing borderline Category 2-equivalent winds, 80-mph sustained winds and 104-mph gusts at its center.
PST is still all over this.
10:45 a.m. Friday, Dec. 5, Philippines time: The news gets slightly better for metro Manila and surrounding area. Hagupit has been downgraded to typhoon status, still packing a significant Category 4-equivalent punch, 143-mph sustained winds and 173-mph gusts as it swirls some 620 miles east-southeast of the Philippines’ capital at midmorning.
Joint Typhoon Warning Center has Hagupit interacting with land before it reaches Manila, meaning it should diminish even further in strength. Latest forecast has Hagupit tracking 40 miles south of Manila at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, packing sustained 74-mph winds and 86-mph gusts at its center — far less than earlier forecast, but still a significant Category 1-equivalent storm. Hagupit should pass 77 miles south of Clark Free Economic Zone and 46 miles south of Subic Bay Free Port.
PST continues to keep watch.
7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, Philippines time: The news is only slightly better for Metro Manila regarding Super Typhoon Hagupit, now forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to rumble slightly north of the capital, Clark Free Economic Zone and Subic Bay Free Port at mid-afternoon Tuesday.
Peak forecast winds have diminished slightly; Hagupit should top out at Category 5-equivalent 190-mph sustained winds and 230-mph gusts early Saturday morning, not as bad as Haiyan was last November, but still very, very bad. Hagupit’s winds are expected to slow but only slightly as it zooms in on the east coast of the Philippines’ northernmost island of Luzon.
The good news, if there’s any such thing, is that the current Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast has Hagupit’s tracking along the east coast of Luzon, meaning Metro Manila, the former Clark Air Base and the former Subic Bay Naval Station may be somewhat out of harm’s way.
An official at Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight indicated that if Hagupit remains on that forecast track, Metro Manila could experience 58-mph sustained winds and 86- to 98-mph gusts as it roars some 58 miles north at about 2 p.m. Tuesday. Interaction with land could cause Hagupit to weaken as it continues tracking. Hagupit is forecast to pass 73 miles northeast of Clark and 101 miles northeast of Subic around the same time. Anything further north of those locales should get it far worse, the weather flight official said. Heavy winds could continue into Wednesday, officials said.
Hagupit is still five days away from landfall, and the various computer models are still not in agreement over which way Hagupit might actually head. Some dynamic models depict a significant curve northeast of the Philippines; others have it on a direct course for Luzon, the way Haiyan plowed through the central Philippines islands last November. Point being, anything can happen from now until Tuesday.
PST continues to keep an eye on things.
10:45 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, Philippines time: If Hagupit’s forecast track holds, the metro Manila area could be in for the same sort of storm that wreaked havoc in the central Philippines last November.
Hagupit rapidly intensified into the eighth super typhoon of the northwest Pacific’s tropical cyclone season overnight Wednesday. At 8 a.m. Thursday, Hagupit was packing 178-mph sustained winds and 219-mph gusts at its center as it rumbled west-northwest at 16 mph some 176 miles north of Palau.
Hagupit is forecast to peak at 196-mph sustained winds and 236-mph gusts at its center sometime Friday — one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, similar to the winds that devastated the central Philippines last November in the form of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
If it continues on its forecast track, Hagupit could be on course to strike close to Manila, Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station sometime midday Tuesday. One note: There is a high degree of uncertainty in the forecast models, some of which have Hagupit continuing west toward the Philippines, but others having it curve north-northeast between Japan’s Minami-Daito islands and Iwo Jima.
Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts Hagupit to retain Category 5-equivalent winds as it reaches southern Luzon, 173-mph sustained winds and 207-mph gusts.
PST is all over this one.
10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, Philippines time: Thus far, the northwest Pacific tropical cyclone season has seen just 22 numbered storms, about 10 below average per year. But seven of those numbered storms strengthened into super typhoons, and we could have an eighth one on the way, if Tropical Storm Hagupit remains true to its Joint Typhoon Warning Center projection.
Hagupit is forecast to peak at 150-mph sustained winds and 184-mph gusts at its center, a strong Category 5-equivalent typhoon, as it approaches the central islands of the Philipipines. As if the islands didn’t have enough trouble last year with Super Typhoon Haiyan last November, Hagupit is on course to head toward that same general area, although it’s still at least six days away from landfall and anything can happen.
No U.S. bases appear to be in any danger at this point; Hagupit is forecast to rumble some 460 miles south of Naval Station Guam at about 3 a.m. Wednesday and continue on a west-northwest coast. Clearly in harm’s way is the tiny island of Yap, southwest of Guam, which is forecast to take a near-direct hit at 8 p.m. Wednesday local time there.
PST is continuing to watch Hagupit, which – ironically – is a Tagalog word which stands for lashing or flogging.
11:40 a.m. Monday, Dec. 1, Guam time: A new tropical depression spawned overnight southeast of Chu’uk, but it is forecast to pass well south of Guam, about 370 miles south of Naval Station, around mid-morning Wednesday. It’s then projected by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to continue west-northwest, intensifying into a Category 1-equivalent typhoon as it nears Yap before curving more northwest by the weekend. PST has an eye on it.