As of 5:00 am Tuesday 04 Dec 2012 Typhoon Pablo (international code name “Bopha”) made landfall on the east coast of Mindanao near Davao City. The storm was reportedly given a Category 5 rating or “super typhoon” class by analysts of the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Monday. Dr. Jeff Masters, of Michigan-based commercial weather forecasting service Weather Underground which is also monitoring the storm, in terms of power Pablo eclipses Typhoon Sendong which, in 2011, hit the Mindanao cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan hard resulting in thousands of deaths. “Washi [international code name of Typhoon Sendong] was merely a tropical storm, and Bopha [international code name of Pablo] is likely to hit at Category 4 or 5 strength, making it the strongest typhoon ever recorded in Mindanao,” he warned.
The strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines’ southern islands have reportedly so far been Category 4’s…
According to him, the previous most southerly typhoon was Titang (international name Kate), which struck Mindanao as a Category 4 storm in 1970. Titang killed at least 631 people.
“According to NOAA’s Coastal Services Center, there have been only 4 previous typhoons of at least Category 4 strength to track within 200 nautical miles of Mindanao Island, dating back to 1945: Mike (“Ruping” ) in 1990, Ike (“Nitang”) in 1984, Kate (“Titang”) in 1970, and Louise (“Ining” ) in 1964,” Masters added.
According to Masters, Pablo is exceptional in being so close to the equator where storms typically do not intensify to such levels due to an inability to “leverage the Earth’s rotation to get themselves spinning.”
The latest AFP Report on Pablo has so far been positive with no reports so far of casualties…
Aviation and shipping were suspended, with 80 flights grounded and thousands of ferry passengers stranded at ports as the coastguard ordered vessels to stay in port, the civil defence office said.
More than 41,000 people had moved into nearly 1,000 government shelters across the island by early Tuesday, it said in its latest bulletin.
The commercial centre of Cagayan de Oro, one of Mindanao’s largest cities, was hit by flooding as rivers overflowed following heavy rain.
School holidays were declared in Mindanao and large areas of the central Philippines.
Typhoon Pablo is expected to continue up a northwest path affecting major Philippine cities outside of Mindanao, including the cities of Cebu, Dumaguete, Iloiilo, and Puerto Princesa.
[Unmarked background graphic courtesy US Navy and Air Forces Joint Typhoon Watch Center.]
Government health and medical facilities across Mindanao and the Visayas are reportedly on “white alert.”
The Department of Health said this means personnel, medicines and equipment must always be ready at hospitals and health centers, radio dzBB’s Carlo Mateo reported.
Placed on white alert were hospitals, health centers and facilities in Visayas and Mindanao, which wind and rain from Typhoon Pablo are likely to affect.
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