'Haiyan,' 3 others removed from int'l typhoon names list
MANILA, Philippines – The name "Haiyan" and 3 others have been removed from the international typhoon names list, following destructive storms that occurred in 2013.
The Typhoon Committee, a joint body of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), approved the removal of the names Haiyan, Utor, Fitow, and Sonamu during a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand held last February 10-13.
"Under internationally agreed procedures, there are regional lists of tropical cyclone names used on a rotating basis. The name of a particularly damaging or costly cyclone is removed from the list," the WMO said in a media release Tuesday, February 25.
All 4 names were used to name storms that left considerable damage in the past year:
Haiyan, in particular, was one of the most powerful and destructive tropical cyclones ever recorded. Named Yolanda in the Philippines, the super typhoon left a trail of destruction across a wide swath of the Visayas.
Utor (Philippine codename Labuyo), meanwhile, hit Luzon and China's Guangdong province in August; Fitow (Quedan) slammed Zhejiang and Fujian provinces in China in October; and Sonamu (Auring) was a severe tropical storm that brought flooding to large parts of Mindanao.
Late last year, the name Yolanda was decommissioned from the official list of typhoon names given by the Philippine Atmospherical, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
In the case of Philippine storm names, a name is retired when it causes at least 300 deaths and P1 billion in damage to crops and infrastructure. In Yolanda's case, the official death toll stands at 6,201 as of January 29, when the last situation report was released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC). Damage has been pegged at P39.8 billion. (READ: Sluggish count: Haiyan deaths breach 6,000)
The names Labuyo and Santi have also been retired by the bureau.
More storm surge information
The WMO also said it will send an expert mission to the Philippines around April to assess the needs in rebuilding meteorological infrastructure, and to "examine ways of strengthening disaster resilience in the future."
A mission will also be sent to Vietnam to also assess lessons learned from Haiyan, particularly in reducing disaster risks. The country was the second place pounded by Haiyan after it left the Philippines. The typhoon left behind considerably less damage.
With the lessons of Haiyan still fresh in everyone's minds, the WMO said its Regional Specialized Meteorological Center-Tokyo Typhoon Center in Japan has started providing storm surge forecasts in the North West Pacific basin.
The regional center is also on its way to increase time-series storm surge forecasts to countries in a typhoon's path, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam.
This came from the observation that most of the damage and casualties from Haiyan were caused not by the high winds, but by the meters-high surges from the sea.
The Philippine state weather bureau was praised for issuing regular typhoon warnings before and at the height of Haiyan. "Without these warnings, the tragic loss of life would have been even higher," the press release said.
The year 2013 was noted to have 31 named tropical cyclones in the Western North Pacific Basin, the global weather organization added. – Rappler.com