Typhoon Utor

Typhoon Utor

Typhoon Utor struck the Philippines on December 9, 2006. Coming just a week after Super Typhoon Durian passed through the island chain on a parallel path to the north, Utor brought heavy rain and strong winds to sodden ground and swollen rivers. Typhoons Xangsane, Cimaron, and Chebi earlier in the year had also followed very similar tracks to Utor.

This photo-like image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite on December 9, 2006, at 12:55 p.m. local time (4:55 UTC), just hours before the storm’s center crossed the shoreline. The storm system did not have the well-defined shape of a powerful typhoon, with no clear eye. But powerful thunderstorm clouds (clouds that appear to be “boiling”) can be discerned in the heart of the storm, and the spiral arms also show towering thunderheads casting shadows on the clouds below. Sustained winds were around 160 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour), according to the University of Hawaii’s Tropical Storm Information Center.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council reported evacuations of over 60,000 people from provinces in or near the storm’s track. The problems were particularly bad in areas where rain from Durian had already caused mudslides. As of December 10, the Associated Press was reporting that no deaths in the mudslide areas had been recorded, though Typhoon Utor was responsible for some loss of life elsewhere as trees fell on houses. Like Durian before it, Utor was expected to cross the South China Sea and come ashore in mainland Asia along the Vietnam coast.

The high-resolution image provided above is at MODIS’ full spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image at additional resolutions.

You can also download a 250-meter-resolution Typhoon Durian KMZ file for use with Google Earth.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center.