By Kassi Berg
The air that now blankets Palau is warm, dry, still, and disturbingly ominous. Palau’s sky has reason to brood for in less than 24 hours Typhoon Bopha is predicted to make landfall on the tiny nation of the Republic of Palau with a near direct hit. This typhoon has been securing strength and intensity while at sea and is expected to be a monster typhoon with a violent entry.
As of 4am on December 2, 2012, this typhoon is predicted to sustain 150-mph winds and 180-mph gusts when it reaches Palau on early morning Monday. If that were not enough, storm force winds extend out from the center to 120 miles and maximum wave height is now estimated at 48 feet.
Typhoon Bopha defies all parameters with intense rainfall, huge diameters and fierce, harnessed winds. Yet, what makes Typhoon Bopha a “typhoon in a million” is that it has developed five-degrees from the equator, an area which is not covered by the “Coriolis force.” The Coriolis effect forces a counterclockwise rotation for all storms in the Northern Hemisphere (storms south of the equator rotate clockwise). According to Wikpedia, since records began, only thirteen tropical cyclones have ever existed between 5°N and 5°S of the equator.
Palau lies on the edge of the typhoon belt and has never seen a typhoon of this magnitude.