It’s been a busy tropical weather season north of the equator this year with a dozen typhoons in the western pacific, 13 hurricanes in the eastern Pacific, and eight hurricanes in the Atlantic basin which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. There have been numerous other named tropical storms.
The most recent storm to make landfall was Typhoon Yutu, which hit the northern Philippines early this morning (local time). Last Thursday it struck the northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory, as a Super Typhoon with 180 mph winds, destroying buildings and killing at least two people.
In the Philippines, where locals call Yutu “Rosita”, the storm has killed at least six people, according to a Washington Post report. Among the dead are a young girl and a young family of four who all got caught in landslides. Several other people have been reported missing as the storm knocked out power to entire provinces and caused major flooding. Thousands of people who hadn’t evacuated certain areas were forced to escape from villages hit by a deadly storm last month.
Officials say Yutu blew down trees and power lines, and tore roofs off of buildings. The storm weakened as it moved across the Sierra Madre mountain range and then traveled westward through the Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, and La Union provinces where Typhoon Mangkhut killed more than 100 people in mid-September. Yutu’s winds were 93 mph at landfall, equal to a Category 1 hurricane.
More than 10,000 villagers moved to emergency shelters in several northern provinces. According to a CBC report, in Cagayan province Governor Manuel Mamba said by telephone that despite improving weather after the typhoon passed, he asked hundreds of villagers not to return immediately to their homes near a swollen river.
“We didn’t even have to do forced evacuations. The people are still scared. They readily moved from the mountainsides and away from the river after our police declared it was time to evacuate,” said Mayor Victorio Palangdan of Itogon, a gold-mining mountain town where at least 90 villagers died last month due to landslides set off by Mangkhut.
“Floods are destroying the homes here. People need relief,” tweeted a spokesperson from the Asia Pacific office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Yutu is now a weaker tropical storm and could brush the east coast of China later this week, according to the forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
Another recent storm to join the list is Oscar, which quickly went from tropical storm status last Saturday to hurricane strength on Sunday. It’s the eighth hurricane of the Atlantic season, currently centered over open waters about 450 miles southeast of the island of Bermuda. As of 11 a.m. EDT today, Oscar was a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 100 mph.
Oscar isn’t about to make landfall very soon, but large swells will produce high surf and potentially dangerous rip currents along the beaches of Bermuda through Wednesday. The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows Oscar getting close to the United Kingdom later in the week. Portions of Great Britain have already been drenched by chilly rains this week from a potent Mediterranean storm that crossed the continent. Another low pressure system is expected to develop by Friday evening and could combine with Oscar at that time, making for a very wet and windy weekend across the U.K.
By then Oscar will have weakened to an extra-tropical storm, meaning it will just be a deep low pressure system over the ocean, but the weather will be unsettled nonetheless. Based on the latest projected path, Oscar will move between Iceland and the U.K. on Saturday. Tropical storm force winds (39 to 73 mph) could produce big waves along the shores of western and southern Ireland, western Northern Ireland, northern Scotland, eastern Iceland, and the Faroe Islands (Denmark).
Cargo ships in both parts of the world should stay up-to-date on Yutu and Oscar in order to change courses accordingly. The Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons officially last through November.