Typhoon Bopha socks southern Philippines, death toll at least 40


Residents repair their damaged homes after Typhoon Bopha made landfall in Compostela Valley in southeastern Philippines Tuesday Dec. 4, 2012. (Karlos Manlupig/AP)

Flood waters “rampaged down a mountain, engulfing emergency shelters and washing away an army truck” the Associated Press (AP) reports. The reported death toll from the storm has reached at least 40 people and will likely climb “because several other bodies could not immediately be retrieved from floodwaters” the AP says.


This photo provided by NASA and made from the International Space Station on Dec. 2, 2012, shows Typhoon Bopha moving toward the Philippines.

The UK Met office says Bopha was the most intense typhoon on record to strike the island of Mindanao. It adds the storm produced 3.6 inches of rain in 6 hours at Malaybalay, a city on the island.

The passage over Mindanao and interaction with land has weakened Bopha. But it remains a formidable typhoon with peaks winds around 100 mph, equivalent to a category 2 hurricane. Tracking through the northern Sulu Sea, it is forecast to continue west-northwest through the west-central Philippines. By tomorrow, it will depart and head into the South China Sea.


Bopha just hours before landfall in the southern Philippines late Monday (CIMSS)

Meteorologically, the storm was notable for reaching such a high intensity so close to the equator. Writes the Weather Channel:

Bopha just missed being the closest-to-equator category-five equivalent typhoon on record in the western North Pacific Basin (or any other basin, for that matter), reaching that intensity at 7.4 degrees north latitude Monday morning (U.S. time). Only Typhoon Louise in 1964, becoming a category-five equivalent typhoon at 7.3 degrees north latitude, was closer to the equator.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.

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