Hurricanes can develop all over the world, but they are referred to by different names – cyclones or typhoons – in different regions. This past week, two separate storms slammed India and Japan.
In India, Cyclone Phailin barreled across the Bay of Bengal and made landfall in the state of Orissa on Saturday. Packing winds of 131-mph, it was the equivalent of a category-4 hurricane. Local officials say the storm’s flooding rains and strong winds destroyed tens of thousands of homes and claimed the lives of at least twenty-seven people. The government’s pre-storm evacuation of nearly one million people, however, is credited with keeping the number of fatalities from being much higher. Sadly, a cyclone that hit the same area fourteen years ago left approximately ten thousand people dead.
On Wednesday, Typhoon Wipha rumbled along the coast of Japan near Tokyo. With sustained winds of 78-mph, it was the equivalent of a category-1 hurricane. This storm’s torrential rain caused rivers to overflow and triggered deadly mudslides. One of the hardest hit areas was Izu Oshima, an island about seventy-five miles south of the capital, where a record 32.44 inches of rain fell in one twenty-four period. Officials say this powerful storm destroyed more than three hundred homes and caused the deaths of at least seventeen people. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Wipha was the eighth typhoon of 2013.
Back in the United States, the Atlantic hurricane season remains fairly quiet.