|Typhoon Nanmadol was the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines so far this year [EPA]
At first sight, the storms appear to be easing. Hurricane Irene is disintegrating over North America and Nanmadol, which was a Super Typhoon, is now just a tropical storm, but there’s certainly more action to come from this storm season.
Irene has now been downgraded to a post-tropical storm, meaning that it’s lost its tropical characteristics. It is now just a regular storm: ‘regular’ but still pretty active. The torrential rain and strong winds will certainly continue to cause problems in eastern Canada for a few more hours yet.
Nanmadol made landfall in southern Taiwan around 18GMT on Sunday. Once over land, like all typhoons, the system began to disintegrate. Nanmadol is now only a tropical storm, with maximum winds of just 74kph. It may strengthen a fraction as it crosses the Taiwan Strait on the way towards the Chinese coastline, but it’s unlikely to be significantly stronger by the time it hits the province of Fujian. The rains are likely to be the major threat to China, with torrential rains bringing widespread flooding and potentially some mudslides.
This is certainly welcome news to the people of North American, China and Taiwan, however, do not breathe a sigh of relief just yet: the storm season is still far from over. In fact, just a few weeks ago, NASA updated its forecast for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, revising the predicted number upwards, from between 12 and 18 named storms to between 14 and 19.
Another storm has already formed in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Jose gave squally thunderstorms to Bermuda as it ran past the island. Fortunately the storm’s not expected to make landfall, or to strengthen further, but now another storm is brewing.
Another area of thunderstorms is being closely monitored just off the coast of Africa, to the south of the Cape Verde islands. This storm looks set to develop into yet another tropical system in the coming few days, and if it does so, will be called Katia. It is far too early to determine the track that this storm will take, or how strong it will become, but the Caribbean Islands and the East coast of the US, are certainly keeping a close eye on the forecast.
The storms in the northwestern Pacific are also far from finished. Tropical Cyclone Talas formed a few days ago, and so far has been meandering around, staying away from land. However, Talas is forecast to strengthen in the coming few days as it works its way northwards.
On in the early hours of Saturday 3 September, the storm is expected to hit Japan, making landfall close to the capital, Tokyo. Shortly before making landfall, the storm is expected to have strengthened into the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane.
This would obviously add to more pain on a country which has suffered a succession of natural disasters this year. The residents of Tokyo are hoping the track of Talas alters in the next few days, and takes the storm clear of the country.
The Northwest Pacific typhoon season continues until January, slightly longer than the Atlantic Hurricane season, which draws to a close at the end of November. Clearly between now and then, there is plenty of time for more powerful and destructive storms to develop.
Source: Al Jazeera