30 Mar 2012

Typhoon Pakhar heading for Vietnam

Earlier this week, I mentioned that the weather computer models were hinting at a typhoon forming in the South China Sea to the east of Vietnam and the forecast has come to fruition.

Typhoon Pakhar is currently around 250 miles away from the coast of southern Vietnam and has been gaining energy from the tropical ocean, gradually becoming stronger.

The storm is expected to peak in strength on Saturday evening local time, with sustained winds of around 90mph and gusts up to 115mph, as it approaches the Vietnamese coast – placing it at an equivalent strength of a category 2 hurricane.

As the typhoon makes landfall, damaging gusts of wind are expected, as well as a storm surge, with waves in excess of 5 metres possible.

Image of Typhoon Pakhar – courtesy of CIMSS

There’ll also be heavy rain which will give a significant risk of flooding – particularly as the air is forced up over the mountains, causing the air to rise and condense more readily, enhancing the intensity of the rainfall.

Although once the storm makes landfall, it will rapidly weaken as it loses its supply of energy from the warm ocean waters.

Nevertheless, the remnants of the typhoon will push inland across southern Vietnam during the next few days as a tropical depression and reach eastern parts of Cambodia early next week.

Whilst the winds will have diminished by this stage, the remnants of the storm will still contain a lot of moisture and given that it is moving quite slowly, some places could see torrential rain falling for a considerable length of time.

Some of the weather computer models are suggesting that southern parts of Vietnam and eastern Cambodia could see as much as 100-150mm of rain during the next four days.

In the northern hemisphere, most tropical cyclones occur between June and November, with a peak in November. However, in the north west Pacific, they can occur at other times of the year.

I often tweet about the formation and progress of tropical cyclones, as well as the UK weather. You can find me on Twitter as @liamdutton

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