On 29 Oct 2012, hurricane Sandy caused serious destruction along the East Coast of America. Its scale, speed, area, & destruction of Sandy is said to be record breaking in the America. From the news update, we can see that the American is well prepare for this major disaster. Early warning and preparation, urging public to evacuate low land area etc. were properly plan and propagate by the Obama government. Although the economic lost will be tremendous, but casualties are rather low for this “Perfect Storm”.
While watching the news on how American face this Superstorm, I am wondering what will happen if the same scale of typhoon (this part of the world, we called the Hurricane as Typhoon台风) landed in my homeland, Malaysia? The curiosity has driven me to search for more historical typhoon destruction information in Malaysia. The first few question that come into my brain after watching the Hurricane Sandy news from CNN:
1) Do we ever face any typhoon at the scale of hurricane Sandy?
2) What is the most destructive typhoon in Malaysia?
3) How serious was the destruction?
4) What are the Government did after the destructive typhoon?
The first article I encounter was highlighting that “Typhoon seldom occur along the Equator”. Oh yes! This is the information that I am really please, however, just below the Google Search, there are titles “Tropical Storm Greg destruct Sabah”, “Johor lost 3.6 million by tropical storm Vamei”. Greg, Vamei, it seem that these are the name of the “lower speed typhoon”, they are called “tropical storm”.
Tropical cyclones are classified as follows (http://www.met.gov.my):
- Tropical Depression – An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 63 kmph or less.
- Tropical Storm – An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 64 – 117 kmph.
- Typhoon – An intense tropical weather system with a well defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 118 kmph or higher.
Further study on the Tropical Storm Greg and Vamei ready shocking, the truth is Malaysia is not exempted from the tropical cyclone impact, and these two LANDED in Malaysia. Both storm origin from the South China Sea. Yes, I do mean “South China Sea”, they are not from the Pacific Ocean or the Indian Ocean. They are from the shallow sea between Peninsular and the Borneo Malaysia.
Tropical Storm Greg
Tropical Storm Greg was detected on 24 December 1996. It landed at Sabah state 2 days later, causing casualties of 238 person and 102 were lost. Economic lost estimated USD280 million. This was one of the most serious natural disaster event in Malaysia.
Picture Source: http://ms.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribut_Tropika_Greg
Tropical Storm Vamei
Tropical Storm Vamei of 2001 – screw up the brain of the meteorologist. It was rare, unusual, and almost impossible to the scientist. But, it did happened.
It was the tropical cyclone that happen at the 1.5 N latitude. The storm circulation covered both the north and south of Equator. JMA reported the speed was 140 km/h, it can be classified as typhoon. It was detected on 26 December 2001, and landed on Johor the next day. It was very fast in gaining strength. This tropical cyclone caused USD3.6 million to the Johor state. Five cases of casualties reported.
Picture Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Vamei
By looking back on these two tropical cyclone event, the question is “Can we have enough time window for early warning and preparation?”, “How good is the current prediction system for the tropical cyclone occur close to the Equator?’, and
“Do Malaysian know how to prepare for the tropical cyclone warning?”
“How many curious photographers will standby along the coast line to wait for the cyclone landing, like they are waiting for the tsunami?”
Obviously, Malaysian is not prepare, and worst they might find it is cool to be able to take the picture of the disaster, to see the disaster by their own eyes.
Malaysia is a land that so fortunate where our disaster is basically caused by ourself, the flash flood, and intensify by the global warming. The safeness of Malaysia has caused its citizen lacking of the awareness of natural disaster and not to prepare for major risk. We do hope that our 1Malaysia government will land us the hand once disaster hit, however, the early preparation is the key of success in surviving through natural disaster. It is our responsibility to our own safety.
When you watching the news of Hurricane Sandy tonight, do spend some time to think what you should do if Sandy landed in Malaysia, can you survive?