2 October 2009

Typhoon Parma update, plus landslides in Indonesia, India, Sicily, Samoa, Cambodia and Vietnam

Posted by Dave Petley

I am struggling to keep up with the natural disasters at the moment. The main point of this post is to highlight the continued threat of Typhoon Parma to the northern Philippines. The current track forecast has it making landfall in the next day or so in the northern part of Luzon. The forecasts are still that it will stall as it makes its way across that area – this is typically the scenario that leads to very heavy rainfall and hence many landslides. Note also that at the moment it is not clear where it will go once it clears the Philippines, but the South China Sea is warm, which could lead to a re-intensification:

Meanwhile the last week has been grim for landslides:

1. The Samoa earthquake and tsunami has received some publicity, but has been overshadowed by events elsewhere. The intensity of the shaking may well have triggered some landslides, and of course there is the possibility that a submarine slide contributed to the tsunami;
2. The Indonesian Earthquakes: there are lots of reports of landslides triggered by the earthquakes. These slides appear to have cost lives directly and also to be hampering the rescue operations due to blocked roads.

3. Typhoon Ketsana: Cambodia and Vietnam were both hit very hard by typhoon Ketsana. Reported death tolls are 99 people in Vietnam and 14 people in Cambodia, adding to the reported 293 fatalities in the Philippines. In each case landslides appear to have been a major factor.

4. Rain in India: 140 people are reported to have been killed in heavy rainfall in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. At least some of these are the result of landslides – for example, a single landslide killed eight people in Maharashtra yesterday.

5. Mudslides in Sicily: heavy rainfall in Sicily last night triggered extensive mudslides around Messina killed at least 14 people. Image below from here (not my normal daily read I should quickly add):

I cannot remember a time with so many events occurring simultaneously. Certainly an interesting time as the old curse says.