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2006 Tropical Cyclone Season for the Philippines
The Philippines have experienced another busy but typical year in terms of tropical cyclone activity. The island chain often finds itself directly in the path of tropical cyclones that have formed upstream in the Western Pacific. Between 1984 and 2004, approximately 20 tropical cyclones per year on average have formed or entered the region with nearly 9 of those making landfall in the Philippines. In an average year, the Northwest Pacific basin typically sees 27 named storms, 17 typhoons, and 8.5 typhoons of category 3 or higher. So far this season there have been 22 storms, 15 typhoons and 7 super typhoons with nearly 2400 reported fatalities as a result.

For the Philippines, the season began with Super Typhoon Chanchu (locally known as Caloy), which made landfall as a Category 1 storm on May 11 before passing through the central Philippines where it left behind 32 dead. Next came Prapiroon (known as Henry), which cut across Luzon as a mere tropical depression beginning on July 31 but still killed 6. Xangsane (known as Milenyo) passed through the central Philippines in late September. This strong storm made its initial landfall at Category 2 intensity on September 27 and was responsible for at least 200 fatalities in the islands. Super Typhoon Cimaron (known as Paeng) struck Luzon on October 29 as a powerful category 5 storm and left behind at least 19 persons dead. This was followed less than two weeks later by Chebi (known as Queenie), which also hit Luzon. The storm made landfall at Category 3 with only 1 fatality.

The biggest disaster for the season came at the end of November when Super Typhoon Durian (known locally as Reming) struck Albay province in the central Philippines on November 30. The storm dumped a tremendous amount of rain, which combined with loose volcanic ash on the slopes of Mount Mayon to generate massive mudslides. At least 1200 people are feared dead. Utor, the final storm of the season and known locally as Seniang, hit the central Philippines soon after on December 9 as a Category 1 typhoon. So far, 16 fatalities have been reported in the Philippines as a result of Utor.

Rainfall totals resulting from tropical cyclones for the 2006 season are shown here for the Philippines and surrounding region.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite was launched into service in November of 1997. It was designed to measure rainfall over the global Tropics using both passive and active sensors, including the first and only space-borne precipitation radar. The TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center monitors rainfall over the global Tropics. MPA rainfall totals resulting from tropical cyclones for the 2006 season are shown here for the Philippines and surrounding region. It can be seen that upwards of 30 inches of rain fell across large portions of the northern and central Philippines as a result of passing tropical cyclones (red areas). The southern islands, in contrast, saw far less due to the abscence of any passing storms in the immediate vicinity. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Credit: Image produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC).

Steve Lang
Goddard Space Flight Center