Cyclonic Trifecta: Three Storms Swirl Through Asia-Pacific

By Tom Yulsman | October 13, 2013 8:58 pm

Three cyclones are visible in this false-color mosaic of satellite images captured by NASA’s Terra satellite on October 13, 2013. From left to right: Tropical Cyclone Phailin, Typhoon Nari, and Typhoon Wipha.  (Image: NASA)

As Tropical Cyclone Phailin was slamming into the northeast coast of India on Saturday, two other very dangerous storms were churning in waters of the Asia-Pacific region.

The MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the action in the mosaic of images above. I chose this false color scheme (the 3,6,7 band combination) because the peach and reddish-orange tones emphasize small ice crystals in clouds that tower high into the atmosphere.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters estimates that Phailin probably had sustained winds of 125 to 130 mph at landfall, which would have made it a Category 3 storm. Thankfully, it appears that a mega-disaster was averted by the largest evacuation effort in Indian history. More than a million people were moved out of harm’s way.

Typhoons Nari (left) and Wipha (center) as of Sunday night . (Animation: CIMSS)

Meanwhile, Typhoon Nari, which killed 13 people in the Philippines on Friday, is now headed for landfall in Vietnam on Monday, where it may come ashore as a Category 1 storm. You can see it at the extreme left side of the animation at right. (Click on the thumbnail for a larger view.)

Typhoon Wipha, currently a Category 4 storm is moving toward Japan. It’s in the center of the animation. As the projected track shows, the current forecast calls for Wipha to skirt Japan’s coast as it recurves out to sea. But it could spell trouble for the stricken Fukushima nuclear complex.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: select, Top Posts, Weather


ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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