Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Why the typhoon-that-never-was fizzled out to a tropical depression

Posted by Kimberly on August 10, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
August 10, 2007, page 2 (742 words)

Photo provided by Sara Farr

 

Macau is set to experience it’s first typhoon of the year and this one’s not alone.
According to the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG), there is another tropical cyclone to follow Pabuk, the one the city is currently experiencing.
The second cyclone is affecting Taiwan soon and “perhaps it will come to us as well,” says Miss Florence Leong Ka Cheng, Chief of the Aeronautical Meteorological Centre.
“Most of the forecasting is suggesting this second tropical cyclone will go to the northern part of Taiwan.
“There is some possibility that it will follow Pabuk and go into the South China Sea. It’s too early to make a decision,” she added.
As for Pabuk, the SMG have so far hoisted a number one signal, which was done at 6am yesterday.
After crossing western Taiwan, the severe tropical storm entered the South China Sea and had taken a western path towards the Pearl River Delta.
At around 5pm yesterday, Macau experienced the first spiral cloud band of the cyclone, warning us of its approach.
Miss Leong stated that the SMG expected to hoist the number three signal late on Tuesday by midnight.
At the time of writing, the wind speed record in Macau was weak, at about 103km/h, with Pabuk estimated to be 270 km east of Macau, with Pabuk at the “severe tropical storm” stage.
The central pressure of the tropical cyclone was about 980 hectoPascals (hPa) and was moving west at a speed of 20km/h.
The signal number depends on the wind speed brought by the cyclone that can be recorded in Macau.
As for a number eight signal, Miss Leong said there was some possibility.
“For the signal number three we have a higher possibility, around 75 percent.
“But for the signal number eight, at this moment we are expecting around 50 percent.
“If it will be hoisted it will happen in the morning. The most possible time that we forecast now is in the morning, before noon,” she said.
The SMG is expecting severe weather for today and tomorrow. As Miss Leong said, if the cyclone gets very close to Macau then the possibility of thunderstorms will not be very high but the rainfall will be significant.
“In my experience when some typhoons or tropical cyclones are approaching they bring a lot of rainfall to the area but once they make landfall, there’s no rain. We have even experienced tropical cyclones with little rainfall, less than 10 mm,” she said.
She added that the possibility of rain depended on whether it would pass on the northern or southern side of Macau.
“If it passes on the North then we will experience the southern cloud band. The southern path is the South China Sea and we will have a of of rainfall.
“If the tropical cyclone passes in the south of Macau then the wind will come from the north, which is Mainland China. There will be less rainfall,” she said.
The SMG expected the cyclone to head north in the beginning but to change to southern winds.
“So tomorrow we can expect a lot more rainfall in the afternoon,” said Miss Leong.
In 2006, Macau experienced a total of seven tropical cyclones between the months of May and November.
The first, Chanchu and third, Prapiroon rose to a T3 signal, along with a tropical cyclone that was un-named. The rest only got as far as a T1 signal before being lowered.
The years 2004 and 2005 painted similar pictures, with two T3 signals being hoisted and the rest not getting beyond a T1 signal.
According to Mr Antonio Viseu, Deputy Director of the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau, the last time Macau experienced a T8 signal was back in 2003, “it was two times in that one year,” July and September.
beyond that 2002 experienced one T8 signal, in September, while only T1 signals were hoisted in 2000, the earliest data available.
Residents of Macau are well-versed in the art of preparing themselves for such severities of weather but for the uninitiated, the SMG advise citizens to stay indoors should the cyclone reach a signal number eight. For a number 3 signal, residents should check the safety of doors and windows and follow bulletins. If the signal reaches number eight, all school classes are suspended, doors and windows are to be bolted safely and all bridges except the tunnel of the Sai Van bridge, will be shut to traffic.

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