Back on the 5th of this Month I warned of something of this nature. I noticed it was showing a very strong center eye and a devastatingly large wall cloud. The wall cloud was as big as many Typhoons, Hurricanes or Cyclones. Each general region has it’s own particular name for it, though the Cyclone in America is any area of low pressure.
Before I forget I have been a tropical weather forecaster for at least 25 years and a forecaster for a lot longer than that. I have always had a penchant for feeling the weather and seeing the obvious warning signs. Any forecaster who uses only data has a very limited sense of tropical weather and forecasting in general. I have done tropical weather for the Caribbean, Jamaica, Monserrat, the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. I even done a station called, WGOD. And it was Christian because I can not imagine tempting God like that. I have done weather for about 100 radio stations altogether.
The country has 7,107 islands so that right there makes the country vulnerable to all sorts of mischief. Couple that with the weather patterns that include Low Pressure Areas (LPAs), Intertropical Convergence Zones, Tropical Storms, monsoonal patterns and the much despised Typhoons. The basic issue with Typhoons is there is very little resistance in the atmosphere and the warm tropical waters in the Pacific.
Their kin, the Hurricane, often starts early on off the coast of Africa as a cluster of thunderstorms and moves out to sea. A general area of Low Pressure becomes a noticeable wave or kink in the isotropic flow. We do streamline analyses of these systems and see if there is anything out there to enhance these disturbances. Sheering can lop off the head of the beast or even cold waters. Once out of the restrictive environments, it can develop quickly as it reaches warmer waters or and cold air above the storm. Once compacted these storms develop an eye and a wall cloud and of course, the feeder bands. Typhoon Yolanda had a very tight eye which suggests a strengthening storm and a humungous wall cloud. That is the area right around the eye. As I saw the projected trajectory I was immediately thinking this could be devastating. Nothing but a freight train of winds and savage rainshowers. The process that digests the thermal properties of the storm is called adiabatic cooling.
Think of these as self-sustained entities which become engorged with moisture and a low pressure reading that is off the chart low. If these systems have a very low pressure area that is also an indication of trouble ahead. The next critical problem is storm path. Generally one or two things happen, either some upper air steering winds moves it or it goes towards lower pressure. Think of this low pressure as a gutter in a bowling alley. This was pretty clear with Yolanda, as it’s forward speed was quite fast. Of course track deviations are possible but at high speeds inertia keeps the area bound within some pretty broad parameters. But this is the Meteorology and that alone is not the whole story. Admittedly, it is a difficult venture but now the country is suffering from a kind of organizational paralysis.
Also, forecasters and disaster preparedness types often don’t shoot for the high end numbers in a little trick of forecasting called persistence. I am pretty sure that better warning systems could be used and a much better lead time. That said, this storm would have blown up places in Miami that have been reinforced since Andrew destroyed much of South Florida. This storm (Yolanda) was virtually unprecedented. I guess the question that many Filipino are asking, is “why is cleanup taking so long?” The problem is there are family members laying in the street, bloated from the decay of death. And I won’t make this just about the kids, because it is any wonder that many of yesteryears kids are around given the raucous weather patterns in the deep Pacific. On a personal level, I am worn out.
I am worried about the morale of the country and how it becomes personal when it is people you love and all those lives wiped out so mercilessly. At this time, the people who love that country can only sit back and perhaps donate some money. It is really too early for care packages because disseminating them would be difficult, given the roads are blocked and strewn with bodies.
One who has little to do with the Philippines might keep in mind, that this people are hale and hearty and sure to rebound in kind, but like a boxer becomes punch weary. I feel such sadness which complicates my severe depression anxiety, but I will not stand idly by and do nothing. The Philippine people and America are inextricably linked. Though the country is independent and growing, they also have a large love of this country. They died in league with us and they were tortured and abused on a scale so horrific, then mere words cannot cover the costs. Suffice it to say, that the American GI most of the time thinks kindly of their times at Angeles and Clark AB. I guess all I can do is send my heart out to you. My friend who now lives in the USA but was from Cebu, tells me of her sadness and I have had the luxury of meeting and participating with the Pinoy people for a very long time and it has been my honor and privilege.
The above pics are graphic but tell the tale of a horrific and misused people and yet, Americans marched along side the fateful Americans who died similarly with them. This is why this should matter to Americans because they died for us and we died for them. Our peoples suffered concentration camps and where Japanese soldiers beheaded children in front of the mothers and then raped them.
The country boasts some famous people like Manny Pacquiao, the coach of the Miami Heat, Jessica Sanchez and a cadre of war heroes both past and present. Lou Diamond Philips and Tim Tebow was born there, and Phoebe Cates has some Filipino blood also.
The Tebows are loved for what they do for the people there and a people who benefit from the love and understanding that we can use from time to time. No man or woman is an island but in the Pacific there are 7,107 islands with a lot of pain and sadness.