Monday, September 15, 2008

A Primer on Hurricane Categories vs Typhoon Signals

In our high school e-groups, one school mate said that she thought the Hurricane Categories in the US were the same as the Typhoon Signals back home in the Philippines. All the while, I thought so, too!

I remember those typhoon days when we were young...
- When the streets are not flooded, we would walk to school in our tsinelas (sandal thongs)
- When the streets are flooded, we would be using our water boots
- During the weekend or when school is suspended (Signal #3), we would go play in the rain. Our favorite is going under the gutter and "take a shower". Sometimes we end up being sick (fever).

... but I never remember needing to evacuate.

Anyhow, I did quick research and below is what I got:

US Hurricane Category, Wind Speed
1: 74-95 mph (119-153 kph)
2: 96-110 mph (154-177 kph)
3: 111-130 mph (178-209 kph)
4: 131-155 mph (210-249 kph)
5: >150 mph (>250 kph)

Philippine Storm Signal, Wind Speed
1: 30-60 kph (19-37 mph)
2: 60-100 kph (37-62 mph)
3: 100-185 kph (62-115 mph)
4: >185 kph (>115 mph)

That means the following:
- all US hurricanes are actually Signal 3+ typhoons
- Signal #1 and #2 typhoons are not considered hurricanes in the US.

So that's why perhaps I do not remember needing to evacuate because there really was no need then. Anyway, since Mt Pinatubo erupted in 1991 and the dikes built were the only protection of my hometown from the lahar, there may now be a need for evacuation during strong typhoons.

Anyway, there you have it, the hurricane-typhoon decoder.


Britt September 16, 2008 at 5:32 AM  

Wow, that is a big difference! Good thing you looked it up, huh?

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my blog! I appreciate all of them. You're very right, it is like being in a storm sometimes. But no storm lasts forever, right? :o)

I'm sorry, I knew I should have been more specific with my "my family' usage. My husband and I have two girls .. my parents have 8 kids (five biological and 3 adopted) :o)

I've thought about doing Katy's MHR, and a couple of the other 'Day Posts' (Friday Foto Fiesta ect.) but when it comes right down to it, I'm just too simple to join .. I feel like those days would complicate my blog. And my blog is a nice uncomplicated constant :o) That being said, I really need to write about my hubs more often. He really does rock! ;o)

Tinabean September 17, 2008 at 2:39 AM  

That's a big difference.
Pretty interesting.
Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Lady Prism September 18, 2008 at 3:24 AM  

Sadly, the height and magnitude of illegal lumbering as well as basic negligence of nature has made it necessary to evacuate low lying villages nestled within mountainous regions for fear of landslides. It has become more frequent and catasrophic today than years ago. The storms are far more fiercer and wilder. Two years ago, I was dumbstruck awestruck and totally terrified when the cyclone "Milenyo" struck Manila. I had never experienced such a deathly lash of rain and wind. It was as if nature had gone isibility and if you go outside ( which I did for a while ) you would feel this knife like scratching of pin like rain plunging your skin and a wind almost..just almost on the verge of carrying you off. Still, when I watch the hurricanes the West have to endure, I breath a sigh of gratefulness that this country at least rarely battles with a force of that magnitude.

Rean September 22, 2008 at 2:10 AM  

Hi Rela,
Very informative blog on storm signals and categories. Working in Climate Change circles, I've always wondered if a signal number 4 was equivalent to a Category 5. I'll probably use some of your info in my blog. Do visit my blogs and Ciao!

manonood December 28, 2008 at 8:53 AM  

Rela, saan ka na ngayon? Ang layo mo na yata sa tambayan natin sa 1st Pav (UP NSTA-SA) Good luck. Joey Tiangco

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