Tropical Storm “Kirogi” about to slam into southern Vietnam

Southern Vietnam, hit by devastating floods produced by Typhoon “Damrey” on November 4, is bracing for yet another tropical cyclone landfall this week. Heavy rain, floods and landslides are expected over the weekend.

Tropical Storm “Kirogi” formed November 17 in the South China Sea after exiting the Philippines as a tropical depression. Kirogi is the 25th named storm of the 2017 Pacific typhoon season. Landfall over southern Vietnam is expected sometime after midnight UTC on Sunday, November 19, 2017.

At 12:55 UTC on November 18, the center of Tropical Storm “Kirogi” was located about 300 km (185 miles) E of NHA Trang. The system is moving WNW at 30 km/h (18 mph) with the central pressure of 1 000 hPa, according to RSMC Tokyo. Its maximum wind speed (10-minute) near the center is 65 km/h (40 mph).

Tropical Storm Kirogi forecast track by JTWC on October 18, 2017

Tropical Storm “Kirogi” forecast track by RSMC Tokyo (JMA) at 12:00 UTC on October 18, 2017

“Kirogi is expected to continue tracking WNW along the southern boundary of the current steering ridge until landfall,” JTWC noted 03:00 UTC today.

Tropical Storm Kirogi on November 18, 2017

Tropical Storm “Kirogi” on November 18, 2017. Credit: NASA Terra/MODIS

Tropical Storm “Kirogi” forecast track by JTWC at 03:00 UTC on October 18, 2017

“Environmental conditions are forecast to remain marginal to favorable as the system tracks over the warm waters of the South China Sea with moderate wind shear from the upper-level ridge to the northeast,” the center said.

The peak intensity is forecast to reach 92 km/h / 57 mph (1-minute) just before the system makes landfall. After that, Kirogi is expected to weaken as it tracks inland over the mountainous terrain.

Although this is a much weaker system than Typhoon “Damrey,” which left more than 100 people dead, its threats should not be taken lightly. This region, still recovering from Damrey, will receive additional rainfall over the already saturated ground, causing flash floods, landslides and possible prolonged power outages in and around landfall area.

After hitting Vietnam, Kirogi will weaken and move into southern Cambodia, dumping heavy rain. Floods and landslides are possible in Cambodia, too.

Featured image: Tropical Storm “Kirogi” at 12:40 UTC on November 18, 2017. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, CIRA

Rare Mediterranean tropical-like cyclone forms, heading toward Greece

A rare tropical cyclone-like storm dubbed ‘medicane’ formed in the Ionian sea on November 17, 2017, and is affecting the region with heavy rain and strong winds. This strengthening storm is expected to hit the western coast of Greece on Saturday, November 18 or early November 19. This is the second medicane to form this year and the second within the past 20 days.

Named Numa by the Free University of Berlin, and known as Zenon in Greece (derived from theonym Zeus), the center of this system is currently located southeast of Italy. Heavy rain it produced over the past couple of days has already caused severe flash flooding near Athens, Greece, on November 15, killing at least 16 people and leaving 2 others missing.

Heavy rain is still affecting the country, causing serious flooding:

The system is strengthening and is expected to start moving east towards the western coast of Greece on November 18.

Numa will dump more heavy rain on already saturated ground and most like result in another wave of serious flash flooding across the country.

Medicanes, short for Mediterranean hurricanes, are relatively rare in Europe, typically forming once or twice each year. They can be very destructive and deadly, even when they don’t reach their full potential.

This is Europe’s second medicane this year and the second within 20 days. The last one started forming on October 28 and dissipated before October 30, after striking Malta with strong winds and large waves. The previous one formed October 31, 2016, also in the Ionian Sea, between the west coast of Greece and southern Italy.

Although the first official medicane was named by NOAA in 2011 (Medicane Rolf), such storms have been observed way before that. In 1969, for example, a very strong medicane hit the coast of north Africa, killing nearly 600 people in Tunisia and Algeria.

​Medicane Numa, also known as Zenon, on November 17, 2017

Medicane Numa, also known as Zenon, on November 17, 2017. Credit: NASA Aqua/MODIS

There is still no official forecasting center dedicated to medicanes, but since some studies predict there will be more of them in the future, it might be a good time to form one.

It is interesting to note that the name Numa when written backward says Amun. Amun was a major ancient Egyptian deity who appears as a member of the Hermopolitan Ogdoad. It was associated with wind and known in Greece as Zeus, god of sky and thunder. Greek name Zenon is derived from the theonym Zeus. 

Featured image: Medicane Numa, also known as Zenon, on November 17, 2017. Credit: NASA Terra/MODIS