07 October 2011

What to Expect During Typhoon Season?

Typhoon Expectation
A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops in the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean. The term "cyclone" refers to such storms' cyclonic nature, with counterclockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise rotation in the Southern Hemisphere. The opposite direction of spin is a result of the Coriolis force. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by names such as hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, tropical depression, cyclonic storm or simply cyclone.

While tropical cyclones can produce extremely powerful winds and torrential rain, they are also able to produce high waves and damaging storm surge as well as spawning tornadoes and water spouts. They develop over large bodies of warm water, and lose their strength if they move over land due to increased surface friction and loss of the warm ocean as an energy source. This is why coastal regions can receive significant damage from a tropical cyclone, while inland regions are relatively safe from receiving strong winds. Heavy rains, however, can produce significant flooding inland, and storm surges can produce extensive coastal flooding up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the coastline.

Travellers to coastal areas must understand the serious nature of typhoon season, be aware of potential dangers and appropriate actions to take in an emergency. Monitoring local weather reports and taking appropriate action as needed could be the first step to save lives and properties.

Here is what a traveller in the Philippines might expect in case of a typhoon:

Many vacationers travelling to beaches in the country will be forced to delay their travel or return home because of infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability. Roads may be washed out or obstructed by debris, limiting or delaying access to airports and land routes out of affected areas. In the event of a typhoon, travellers should be aware that they may not be able to depart an affected area for 24 to 48 hours or more. It is recommended to obtain travel insurance to cover unexpected expenses during an emergency.

Minor tropical storms can also develop into typhoons very quickly, limiting the time available for any traveller to evacuate safely. Protecting one’s travel and identity documents against loss or damagenis required, as the need to replace lost documentation could hamper or delay the return to other provinces or countries.

In the aftermath of a storm, travellers may encounter uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous conditions after storms pass while they wait for transportation back to their homes. In many places, typhoons often are accompanied by damaging high tides and flooding. If the area is close to the ocean or other bodies of water, travellers may be at higher risk. Landslides and mudslides also are serious concerns during heavy periods of rain. Looting and sporadic violence sometimes occur after natural disasters. Travellers are advised to check with local authorities for safety and security updates. Because weather conditions can damage local infrastructure, security personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to assist at all times.

Travellers should prepare for typhoons and tropical storms by organizing a kit containing a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, and vital documents (such as your passport, other government-issued photo identification, birth certificate, etc.) in a waterproof container. Emergency shelters often provide only very basic resources and may have limited medical and food supplies.