Conson drenches the Philippines, eyes China, Vietnam
This satellite image shows Conson Thursday evening, local time, Sept. 9, 2021, as it churns over the South China Sea. (AccuWeather Enhanced RealVue™ Satellite)
AccuWeather meteorologists say tropical activity in the West Pacific basin has surged to life once again this week as two tropical systems churn through the basin.
The first of these two tropical entities to take shape was Tropical Storm Conson, known as Jolina in the Philippines. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) assigns a local name, to be used in addition to the internationally-recognized name, to any tropical system that enters its area of responsibility.
Conson made the first of multiple landfalls in the Philiipines late Monday evening, local time. This first landfall was in the vicinity of Hernani, Eastern Samar, Philippines. Conson was a severe tropical storm when it first slammed into the Philippines, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), the tropical governing body for the West Pacific basin.
PAGASA found slightly stronger sustained winds and declared the system a typhoon just as it made landfall.
"Conson's intensity was right on the border between a severe tropical storm designation and a typhoon designation at landfall," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls said.
In the early morning hours of Tuesday, local time, Conson went on to make three additional landfalls in a span of just four hours. By the time Conson moved out of the Philippines Wednesday night, it had made a total of nine landfalls across the country.
As of Thursday evening, local time, Conson was a tropical storm located over the South China Sea Manila Bay, moving to the west at 18 mph (30 km/h).
This infrared satellite loop shows Conson, known as Jolina in the Philippines, on Monday evening, Sept. 6, 2021, just before its first landfall in the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)
Regardless of its official designation, Conson unleashed strong winds and heavy rainfall for the Philippines.
Portions of the Eastern Visayas region near where Conson first made landfall have received 6-12 inches (150-300 mm) of rainfall since Monday. Other portions of the Visayas island group have had 4-6 inches (100-150 mm) of rainfall in the same time frame. As Conson tracked near the capital city of Manila, home to over 1.75 million people, more than 4 inches (100 mm) of rain fell for the city in under 48 hours.
While the Philippines is no stranger to heavy rainfall events, rainfall of this magnitude is enough to cause flooding issues for the region. Water can quickly pond in low-lying areas, while higher elevation areas are susceptible to mudslides during heavy rainfall.
On Tuesday afternoon, nearly 2,000 passengers and crew members were stranded in ports across the Eastern Visayas and Bicol regions, according to the Philippine Coast Guard.
The Philippine Coast Guard suspended sea trips within areas covered by storm signals -- warnings issued by PAGASA to cover for tropical impacts. All storm signals have been lifted due to Conson as of Thursday afternoon, local time.
The Philippine Coast Guard confirmed on Tuesday that at least 18 fishermen were missing as a result of the storm.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said some transmission lines were impacted by Conson and power outages were reported in parts of the Eastern Samar, Samar and Leyte provinces, according to The Associated Press.
AccuWeather forecasters say after Conson moves out of the Philippines, it will set its sights on portions of China and Vietnam.
Conson is forecast to gain some strength while over the South China Sea over the weekend and eventually reach the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Forecasters say it will maintain this strength as it slows down and passes just south of China's Hainan province on Sunday.
Due to some interaction with land, Conson is forecast to lose a bit of wind intensity before it makes landfall in Vietnam on Monday. Regardless of designation, Conson will bring significant impacts to Hainan and Vietnam later this weekend into early next week.
"Strong winds can batter coastal areas near landfall, but the more widespread threat for central and northern Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia into northern Thailand should be flooding rains," Nicholls explained.
Along the track of Conson this weekend into early next week, widespread rainfall amounts of 4-8 inches (100-200 mm) can occur. The southern portion of Hainan Province, as well as portions of central and northern Vietnam are most at-risk for this type of heavy rainfall in a short period of time.
Conson is not alone in the West Pacific basin. A second active system, Super Typhoon Chanthu, was churning in the open waters of the Philippine Sea Wednesday afternoon, local time. AccuWeather forecasters continue to closely monitor Chanthu.
"Chanthu is expected to bring risks to Taiwan, the southern Ryukyu Islands and perhaps eastern China this weekend," Nicholls cautioned.
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