Typhoon Goni turns deadly for storm-weary Philippines

Mary Gilbert
·6 min read

After a brutal blow from Typhoon Molave, many of the hardest-hit communities in the Philippines had little time to recover as Typhoon Goni crashed into the nation Sunday morning, local time.

Early Wednesday morning, local time, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) began to issue advisories on a tropical depression in the Philippine Sea. By Thursday, the depression had strengthened to a tropical storm and eventually into a powerful typhoon. The storm is referred to as Rolly by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

As of Friday afternoon, local time, Goni had the equivalent strength of a Category 4 major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale based on 10-minute average sustained wind speeds in the Atlantic or East Pacific basins and was considered a super typhoon by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Goni is the second storm to reach super typhoon status in 2020. Haishen was the only other storm to reach that classification this year when it struck southern Japan and the Korean Peninsula from late August into early September.

Super Typhoon Goni nearing landfall over the eastern Philippines on Saturday night, Oct. 31, 2020, local time. A well-defined eye can be seen on satellite. (CIRA/RAMMB)

While the violent typhoon moved into an area of low to moderate wind shear and slightly cooler water, the storm maintained its super typhoon strength as it made its first landfall on Sunday morning, local time. Goni made landfall first in the vicinity of Bato, Catanduanes, Philippines, just a few hours before sunrise on Sunday. Just a little over two hours later, Goni had made its second landfall, this time in the vicinity of Tiwi, Albay, Philippines.

In Albay, roofs of several evacuation centers were torn off as Goni bore down on the area, according to GMA News. The deaths of four people in the Albay province were confirmed by Governor Al Francis Bichara Sunday morning, local time, according to Rapler.

Rescuers carry the body of a man that drowned in floods as Typhoon Goni hit Guinobatan, Albay province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. (AP Photo)

More than 300,000 Philippine residents were preemptively evacuated ahead of Goni's first two landfalls. Major transportation shutdowns were also in effect Sunday, local time, as the Philippine National Railways halted all operations until further notice according to CNN Philippines. Several transit lines in the Manila area and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport also suspended service on Sunday.

As of Sunday afternoon, local time, Goni lost some wind intensity due to interactions with land and was no longer designated a super typhoon. Typhoon Goni was over the east-central Philippines at the time its designation changed.

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Flooding rain and damaging winds that began to arrive on Saturday night are forecast to continue into Monday morning, local time.

Since Goni is expected to maintain a steady forward movement across the Philippines, it is not expected to drop extreme rainfall, though flash flooding will still threaten the area.

Rainfall of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) will be common across southern Luzon, northern Mindoro and northern Visayas. An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 400 mm (16 inches) is most likely to occur along eastern coasts and into the higher elevations of these areas. Meanwhile, 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) of rainfall is forecast for central Luzon and into the rest of the Visayas.

Heavy rain from the system will cause flash flooding issues across portions of the northern and central Philippines, as well as elevate the risk for mudslides across mountainous terrain. The risk for mudslides will be especially high across portions of the country that were recently soaked by Molave.

While heavy rainfall will likely create issues for residents, damaging wind gusts will pose an even greater threat with Goni.

Winds from Goni will certainly continue to pack a serious punch as it tracks across the Philippines. Dangerous wind gusts on the order of 185 km/h (115 mph) will be likely near where the system makes landfall with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 210 km/h (130 mph).

As the system tracks west across the Philippines, widespread wind gusts of 95 to 130 km/h (60 to 80 mph) will cover a large area along Goni's track. These strong wind gusts can bring down power lines and cause significant damage to trees and poorly constructed structures.

Even well-built buildings can sustain damage near Goni's center, and structures already weakened by the blow from Typhoon Molave will be in peril.

"Goni is expected to follow a path similar to Molave as it crosses the Philippines and may eventually go on to impact Vietnam next week" AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nichols said.

While there is potential for Goni to lose some wind intensity as it approaches landfall due to slightly cooler waters and increased wind shear, it is still expected to be a powerful storm.

In addition, much of the areas expected impacts from Goni are still recovering from Typhoon Molave, also known as Quinta in the Philippines, that tracked through the region just a week ago. For these reasons, Super Typhoon Goni will be a 4 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Tropical Cyclones in the Philippines due to the anticipated flooding rainfall and damaging winds.

The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale was developed to help people make better decisions around tropical systems, bringing improvement upon the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale by also factoring in flooding rain, storm surge and economic damage and loss.

Since Oct. 13, three named tropical systems have made landfall over the Philippines. Just five days after Tropical Storm Saudel, known in the Philippines as Pepito, made landfall, Typhoon Molave took aim at the weather-weary nation.

Typhoon Molave, known in the Philippines as Quinta, was the most recent storm to strike the nation and brought disastrous, even deadly impacts for some residents. After it first made landfall on Oct. 25, Molave went on to record a total of five landfalls across the Philippines, the last of which occurred over the province of Oriental Mindoro.

Oriental Mindoro, a province with a thriving agricultural industry, suffered heavy economic losses as a result of Typhoon Molave. Across the province, an estimated 2 billion PHP (41.3 million USD) worth of damage was done to crops as a result of Molave, according to ABS-CBN. Some farmers in the area had 100 percent of their crops destroyed by Molave. These same areas will likely experience the wrath of Goni over the weekend.

At least 22 deaths in the Philippines have been blamed on Typhoon Molave, according to CNN Philippines.

To add insult to injury, even more tropical trouble may be on the way for the Philippines after Goni exits the area by early next week.

AccuWeather forecasters are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Atsani which developed near Micronesia late Thursday, local time.

"Atsani may impact the northern Philippines late next week," warned Nicholls.

However, interests from Taiwan to Japan should monitor this system into next week as a turn to the north could bring dangerous impacts to these areas.

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