Tropical Storm Vamei

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Tropical Storm Vamei
Tropical storm (JMA scale)
Category 1 typhoon (SSHWS)
Typhoon Vamei 2001.jpg
Tropical Storm Vamei near landfall in Malaysia on December 27
FormedDecember 26, 2001
DissipatedJanuary 1, 2002
Highest winds 10-minute sustained:85 km/h (50 mph)
1-minute sustained:120 km/h (75 mph)
Lowest pressure1006 hPa (mbar); 29.71 inHg
Fatalities5 direct
Damage$3.6 million (2001 USD)
Areas affected Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia
Part of the 2001 Pacific typhoon season
and the 2001 North Indian Ocean cyclone season

Tropical Storm Vamei was a Pacific tropical cyclone that formed closer to the equator than any other tropical cyclone on record. The last storm of the 2001 Pacific typhoon season, Vamei developed on December 26 at 1.4° N in the South China Sea. It strengthened quickly and made landfall along extreme southeastern Peninsular Malaysia. Vamei rapidly weakened into a remnant low over Sumatra on December 28, and the remnants eventually re-organized in the North Indian Ocean. Afterward, the storm encountered strong wind shear once again, and dissipated on January 1, 2002.

Tropical cyclone Is a rotating storm system

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".

Equator Intersection of a spheres surface with the plane perpendicular to the spheres axis of rotation and midway between the poles

An equator of a rotating spheroid is its zeroth circle of latitude (parallel). It is the imaginary line on the spheroid, equidistant from its poles, dividing it into northern and southern hemispheres. In other words, it is the intersection of the spheroid with the plane perpendicular to its axis of rotation and midway between its geographical poles.

2001 Pacific typhoon season typhoon season in the Pacific Ocean

The 2001 Pacific typhoon season has no official bounds; it ran year-round in 2001, but most tropical cyclones tend to form in the northwestern Pacific Ocean between May and November. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Contents

Though Vamei was officially designated as a tropical storm, its intensity is disputed; some agencies classify it as a typhoon, based on sustained winds of 120 km/h (75 mph) and the appearance of an eye. The storm brought flooding and landslides to eastern Peninsular Malaysia, causing $3.6 million in damage (2001  USD, $5.09 million2019 USD) and five deaths.

Eye (cyclone) region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones

The eye is a region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones. The eye of a storm is a roughly circular area, typically 30–65 km (20–40 miles) in diameter. It is surrounded by the eyewall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather and highest winds occur. The cyclone's lowest barometric pressure occurs in the eye and can be as much as 15 percent lower than the pressure outside the storm.

United States dollar Currency of the United States of America

The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units, but is occasionally divided into 1000 mills (₥) for accounting. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale Vamei 2001 track.png
Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

On December 19, a small low-level circulation was located along the northwest coastline of Borneo; at the same time a plume of cold air progressed southward through the South China Sea on the southeastern periphery of a ridge over the Far East. The vortex drifted southwestward, reaching open water by December 21. The northerly air surge was deflected after interacting with the circulation, and at the same time a portion of the air surge crossed the equator. The southerly flow turned eastward, then northward, and in combination with the northerly flow it wrapped into the vortex, resulting in rapid development of the low-level circulation, just a short distance north of the equator. [1] By December 25, an area of scattered convection persisted about 370 km (230 mi) east of Singapore within an area of low wind shear, in association with the low-level circulation. Continuing slowly westward, the convection deepened and organized further, [2] and at 1200  UTC on December 26 the disturbance developed into a tropical depression about 230 km (145 mi) east of Singapore, or 156 km (97 mi) north of the equator. [3] This was the first recorded occurrence of a tropical cyclone near the equator. [1]

Borneo island

Borneo is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra.

South China Sea A marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean from the Karimata and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan

The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Karimata and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 square kilometres (1,400,000 sq mi). The sea carries tremendous strategic importance; one-third of the world's shipping passes through it, carrying over $3 trillion in trade each year, it contains lucrative fisheries, which are crucial for the food security of millions in Southeast Asia. Huge oil and gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed.

Far East geographical term

The Far East is a geographical term in English that usually refers to East Asia, the Russian Far East, and Southeast Asia. South Asia is sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons. The term "Far East" came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 12th century, denoting the Far East as the "farthest" of the three "easts", beyond the Near East and the Middle East. Likewise, in Qing Dynasty of the 19th and early 20th centuries the term "Tàixī (泰西)" – i.e. anything further west than the Arab world – was used to refer to the Western countries.

The depression strengthened further and officially attained tropical storm status at 0000 UTC on December 27, based on the analysis by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), [3] though the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) unofficially classified it as a tropical storm six hours prior. Shortly thereafter, an eye with a 39 km (24 mi) diameter became apparent on satellite imagery, along with rainbands extending southward to the opposite side of the equator. At 0600 UTC, the JMA first classified the system as Tropical Storm Vamei, about 65 km (40 mi) northeast of Singapore, [2] and the agency estimated the storm attained peak winds of 85 km/h (50 mph) at the same time. [3] However, the JTWC upgraded Vamei to typhoon status with peak winds of 120 km/h (75 mph) (though the JTWC operationally assessed the storm's peak winds to have been 140 km/h (85 mph)), based on a United States Navy ship report from within the eye; a second ship reported wind gusts of 195 km/h (120 mph) in the southern portion of the eyewall. The storm was small and compact, with gales extending about 45 km (30 mi) from its center. At about 0830 UTC on December 27, Vamei made landfall approximately 60 km (35 mi) northeast of Singapore, [2] in the southeastern portion of the Malaysian state of Johor. [4] Initially, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) classified the cyclone as a tropical storm, [5] though it was later re-assessed as a typhoon at landfall. [6]

Japan Meteorological Agency meteorological service of Japan

The Japan Meteorological Agency, JMA, is an agency of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. It is charged with gathering and providing results for the public in Japan, that are obtained from data based on daily scientific observation and research into natural phenomena in the fields of meteorology, hydrology, seismology and volcanology, among other related scientific fields. Its headquarters is located in Chiyoda, Tokyo.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is a joint United States Navy – United States Air Force command located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The JTWC is responsible for the issuing of tropical cyclone warnings in the North-West Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean for all branches of the U.S. Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies. Their warnings are intended for the protection of primarily military ships and aircraft as well as military installations jointly operated with other countries around the world.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.

Tropical Storm Vamei weakened quickly as it crossed the extreme southern portion of the Malay Peninsula, and late on December 27, the JMA downgraded it to tropical depression status before the cyclone emerged into the Straits of Malacca. [3] The JTWC initially maintained it as a minimal tropical storm, though the agency downgraded the storm to depression status as the storm's center again approached land. [2] Early on December 28, Vamei moved ashore on northeastern Sumatra, and at 0600 UTC, the JMA classified the storm as dissipated. [3] However, convection persisted near the circulation over land, believed to have been caused by the process known as upper-level diffluence. On December 29, what was originally believed to be a separate system reached the southeastern Bay of Bengal. In a post-season re-evaluation, the JTWC classified the system as a continuation of Vamei, based on analysis of satellite imagery that indicated the circulation of Vamei crossed Sumatra without dissipating. Convection re-developed, and late on December 30, the JTWC classified the cyclone as a tropical storm about 390 km (245 mi) west-southwest of the northwestern tip of Sumatra; initially, due to being treated as a separate system, it was classified as Tropical Cyclone 05B. Vamei quickly developed good outflow and organization, though increased wind shear on December 31 rapidly weakened the storm; by late that day, the center was exposed, and Vamei quickly dissipated on January 1, 2002. [2]

Sumatra island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands

Sumatra is a large island in western Indonesia that is part of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island that is located entirely in Indonesia and the sixth-largest island in the world at 473,481 km2.

Deformation (meteorology)

Deformation is the rate of change of shape of fluid bodies. Meteorologically, this quantity is very important in the formation of atmospheric fronts, in the explanation of cloud shapes, and in the diffusion of materials and properties.

Bay of Bengal Northeastern part of the Indian Ocean between India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Bay of Bengal is the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean, bounded on the west and northwest by India, on the north by Bangladesh, and on the east by Myanmar and the Andaman Islands of India and Myanmar and the Nicobar Islands of India. Its southern limit is a line between Sri Lanka and the northwesternmost point of Sumatra (Indonesia). It is the largest water region called a bay in the world. There are countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal in South Asia and Southeast Asia. The Bay of Bengal was also called the Chola Lake.

Unusual formation

TRMM image of Vamei near landfall Vamei TRMM.JPG
TRMM image of Vamei near landfall

Vamei formed and reached tropical storm strength at 1.5º N, only 156 km (97 mi) from the equator. [3] This broke the previous record of Typhoon Sarah in the 1956 Pacific typhoon season, which reached tropical storm strength at 2.2º N. [2] Due to a lack of Coriolis effect near the equator, the formation of Vamei was previously considered impossible. [2] However, a study by the Naval Postgraduate School indicated that the probability for a similar equatorial development was at least once every four centuries. [1]

1st parallel north circle of latitude

The 1st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 1 degree north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean and South America.

1956 Pacific typhoon season typhoon season in the Pacific Ocean

The 1956 Pacific typhoon season has no official bounds; it ran year-round in 1956, but most tropical cyclones tend to form in the northwestern Pacific Ocean between June and December. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.

2nd parallel north circle of latitude

The 2nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 2 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean and South America.

Vamei developed in a vortex that appears every winter along the northwest coast of Borneo and is maintained by the interaction between monsoonal winds and the local topography. Often, the vortex remains near the coastline, and in an analysis of 51 winters, only six reported the vortex as being over the equatorial waters for four days or more. As the area in the South China Sea between Borneo and Singapore is only 665 km (415 mi) wide, a vortex needs to move slowly to develop. A persistent northerly wind surge for more than five days, which is needed to enhance the vortex, is present, on average, nine days each winter. The probability for a pre-existing tropical disturbance to develop into a tropical cyclone is between 10–30 percent. Thus, the conditions which resulted in the formation of Vamei are believed to occur once every 100–400 years. [1]

Preparations and impact

Radar image of Vamei from USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Vamei Radar.JPG
Radar image of Vamei from USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)

Four days prior to Vamei moving ashore, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) issued storm advisories for potentially affected areas. Subsequently, the agency issued warnings for heavy rainfall, high winds, and rough seas. [4] However, few citizens knew of the passage of the rare storm. [7]

Offshore of Malaysia, two U.S. Navy ships in Vamei's eyewall were damaged by strong winds. [1] Upon moving ashore, the storm brought storm surge damage to portions of southeastern Peninsular Malaysia. [8] Vamei brought strong winds and heavy rainfall to portions of Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, and Selangor as well as to Johor, where rainfall reached over 200 mm (8 in) in Senai. Additionally, monsoonal moisture, influenced by the storm, produced moderate to heavy precipitation across various regions of peninsular Malaysia. [4] The passage of the cyclone resulted in flooding and mudslides, which forced the evacuation of more than 13,195 people in Johor and Pahang states into 69 shelters. [9] [10] Along Gunung Pulai, the rainfall caused a landslide which destroyed four houses and killed five people. River flooding was also reported, as a result of the precipitation from Vamei as well as previous rainfall. Damage from the flooding was estimated at RM13.7 million (2001  MYR, $3.6 million 2001 USD). About 40 percent of the damage occurred to crops at a farm in Kota Tinggi. Moderate damage to transportation, education, and health-care facilities was also reported. The Malaysian government provided affected families up to RM5,000 (2001 MYR, $1,300 2001 USD) in assistance for food, clothing, and repairs. [10] Vamei also brought heavy rainfall to Singapore, [11] which caused air traffic disruptions at the Singapore Changi Airport. [12] The passage of the cyclone resulted in many downed trees. [13]

In 2004, the name "Vamei" was retired and replaced with "Peipah", becoming the first retired name since the Japan Meteorological Agency began naming Pacific typhoons in 2000. Vamei was one of seven tropical cyclones in the current naming list that was retired without attaining typhoon status; the others were Tropical Storm Yanyan in 2003, Tropical Storm Bilis in 2006, Tropical Storm Washi in 2011, Tropical Storm Sonamu in 2013, Tropical Storm Kai-tak in 2017, and Tropical Storm Rumbia in 2018. [14] [15]

See also

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