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20 December 2011

Tropical Storm Washi

(Click on image for larger view.)

Tropical Storm Washi devastated the Philippines on December 16 and 17, 2011. Though not powerful in the traditional sense—the storm’s winds never reached higher than 55 knots (100 kilometers per hour or 63 miles per hour) and it lacked the organization of an intense typhoon or hurricane—Washi unleashed extremely heavy rain on northwest Mindanao. The resulting floods left hundreds dead or missing.

This image shows rainfall between December 15 and noon on December 19. Dark blue spots indicate areas of extremely heavy rain, and the largest area of intense rain is in northwest Mindanao. The image was made with data from the Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis, which combines measurements from many satellites and calibrates them with rainfall data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite.

Most of the rain fell on Friday, December 16. The rain rushed down mountain slopes and converged on coastal communities overnight while people were sleeping. The ensuing flash floods left 957 dead and 1,582 injured as of December 20 (local time), reported the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Most of the fatalities are in two cities: Cagayan De Oro and Iligan City. Nearly 340,000 people have been affected by the disaster.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. (2011, December 20, 6:00 a.m. local time). Sitrep No. 11 re: Effects of Tropical Storm “SENDONG” (Washi). Republic of the Philippines. Accessed December 19, 2011.
Philippine Red Cross. (2011, December 19). Emergency alert: Tropical Storm Sendong. Accessed December 19, 2011.
Unisys. (2011, December 19). Tropical Storm Washi. 2011 Hurricane/Tropical Data for the Western Pacific. Accessed December 19, 2011.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using near-real-time data provided courtesy of TRMM Science Data and Information System at Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Holli Riebeek.