Typhoon Mirinae had one last gasp before making a second landfall in Vietnam (see video). As I had last reported, the microwave imagery showed that an eye was forming again as the storm moved from the Philippines across the South China Sea. It had been downgraded to tropical storm status but the JTWC increased its intensity following the microwave observation. It was not expected to continue strengthening though due to some sheer and also colder water temperatures. The microwave image even detected an erosion of the eye structure. Well, it got a bit of a kick and continued to intensify, back to Typhoon status just prior to making landfall in Vietnam. The moniker really made no significant difference because the true threat from the storm was always the heavy rain potential. Early reports say that Typhoon Mirinae killed anywhere from 23 to 40 in Vietnam but, these are preliminary reports.
Meanwhile, the death toll from Typhoon Mirinae in the Philippines was put at 19 by Channel News Asia (see photo gallery) but broadcast reports now say that the number has risen to 20. I’m not sure if it’s a political move or not, but officials in the Philippines are saying that preparation is what kept the death toll from not being anywhere close to that of Typhoon Parma and Typhoon Ketsana which collectively killed over 900. Now, the government was criticized for not reacting stronger to the threat from Ketsana and Parma. So, it’s possible that officials are just taking credit to help their image with the voters. But, here’s the thing. I’m not aware of what the government did or didn’t do with the previous storms but with the amount of rain that the Philippines got and the terrain of the nation and the location of villages in that country in relation to that terrain, I’m not sure what people expected the government to do. They can’t stop the rain nor the ensuing flooding or mudslides. Conversely, with this storm, the death toll was probably held down due to the speed of Mirinae as it moved across the island, thus decreasing rain totals, than anything the government did. Man and its governments can only do so much when dealing with the forces of nature and governments often get too much blame or too much credit when dealing with weather events. As US Grant was fond of saying, “Man proposes, God disposes.”
The second tropical cyclone that looked from all data that it would follow right behind Mirinae into the Northern Philippines was upgraded to a tropical depression. It began to fall apart but, like Mirinae, the intensity was never the issue. It was rain and now it has moved into Luzon Province and is dropping heavy rain. This could be problematic in that this guy is not moving as quickly as Mirinae.