Deadly Typhoon “Koppu” (Lando) slams the Philippines, more life-threatening floods and mudslides expected


Typhoon "Koppu" (Lando) slammed the Philippines with heavy downpours and strong winds on October 17, 2015 at 21:00 UTC, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The system is moving over the island at a very slow pace, enhancing the life-threatening conditions brought on by heavy rainfalls, mudslides and strong winds. So far, 2 people were reported dead and 6 missing, while residents are warned to stay alert.

Typhoon "Koppu", known in the Philippines as Lando, made landfall over Casiguran, Aurora and remained almost stationary for a while, as a large area of high pressure centered over southern China in combination with the westerlies acted as a wall slowing down the typhoon's progress over the land.

Typhoon "Koppu" (Lando) over Philippines, October 18, 2015. Image credit: NASA Aqua/MODIS

Typhoon "Koppu" (Lando) moving path, October 18, 13:30 UTC. Image credit: UW-CIMSS

Koppu hit the land with wind speeds over 200 km/h (124.3 mph) which has given it a category 4 status, making it the 19th storm of the 2015 season to reach that status. This makes 2015 a record year.

Heavy rainfalls and strong winds have battered parts of the country, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate their homes, according to media reports. So far, 2 people have been reported dead, and 6 more went missing.

Video credit: WestPacWx

A number of provinces have been inundated with flash flood waters, including Aurora and Nueva Ecija province. Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Apayao and Kalinga were cut off their power supplies.

Uprooted trees and devastated rooftops have been reported in the Baler town. Raging weather has left 2 225 passengers stranded in 6 districts of Southern Tagalog.

Video credit: Earth Uncut TV

Typhoon "Koppu" was located 231.5 km (143.8 miles) from Manilla on October 18, 15:00 UTC, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and moving to the north at 9.3 km/h (5.8 mph). The system is packing maximum sustained winds of 148.2 km/h (92 mph) and wind gusts of up to 185.2 km/h (115 mph), currently classified as a category 2 typhoon. 

JTWC forecasts Koppu's intensity will decrease over the next 48 hours, as wind speeds are expected to drop to 92.6 km/h and gusts will lower to 120.4 km/h (74.8 mph).

PAGASA notified the typhoon is slowly moving toward the Regions of Cordillera and Ilocos and issued a public warning for strong winds and heavy downpours. Fisherman have been advised not to venture past the seaboards of Luzon and Visayas, as well as the eastern seaboard of Mindanao. Residents in mountainous and low-lying areas of the provinces have been alerted of possible strong flash floods and mudslides.

72-hr accumulated rainfall as observed by GPM Core Observatory. Image credit: Google/NASA/JAXA GPM

It is still uknown exactly how long will Koppu is linger over Luzon. Heavy rainfalls due to the system's slow movement pose the highest risk to lives and property. About 300 to 600 mm (11.8 to 23.6 inches) of rain is expected, with localized amounts rising up to 900 mm (35.4 inches), causing floods and mudslides.

Typhoon "Koppu" (Lando) 5-day forecast track. Image credit: JTWC

Extremely rough seas, wind damage, storm surge and coastal flooding are additional hazards. How long Typhoon "Koppu" is expected to linger over the affected areas, prior to traveling north will determine the duration of life-threatening conditions for northern Luzon.

Featured image: Typhoon "Koppu" slams the Philippines, October 18, 2015. Image credit: Earth Uncut TV

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