Bopha Makes Landfall

Bopha Makes Landfall

As predicted, Typhoon Bopha made landfall on the Philippine island of Mindanao overnight December 3–4, 2012. Known in the Philippines as Pablo, the storm was blamed for 43 deaths and 25 injuries as of December 4, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image around 1:12 a.m. local time on December 4 (17:12 UTC on December 3). This image is from the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as gas flares, auroras, wildfires, city lights, and reflected moonlight.

Bopha remained a powerful typhoon as it made landfall on Mindanao, retaining a distinct eye and spiral shape as storm clouds stretched over the eastern part of the island. Unisys Weather reported that Bopha carried super-typhoon strength at the time it was coming ashore. William Straka, associate researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, estimated that the storm spanned at least 1,677 kilometers (1,042 miles).

Bopha lost some strength after making landfall. On December 4 (late in the evening in the Philippines), the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that the storm had maximum sustained winds of 95 knots (175 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 115 knots (215 kilometers per hour)—still a fierce storm, but weakened since the previous day. The JTWC projected storm track showed Bopha continuing its movement toward the west-northwest, passing over the southern Philippines toward the South China Sea.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using VIIRS day-night band data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Michon Scott.

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