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SHAKE AND BLOW
Death toll from Vietnam typhoon rises to 69; 17th Atlantic storm takes shape
by Staff Writers
Danang, Vietnam (AFP) Nov 7, 2017


The 17th big Atlantic storm takes shape in busy season
Miami (AFP) Nov 7, 2017 - The 17th storm large enough to earn its own name has formed in the Atlantic Ocean, making Tropical Storm Rina the latest in an already above-average hurricane season, forecasters said Tuesday.

As of 1500 GMT, Rina posed no threat to land, and was churning in the open Atlantic 905 miles (1,455 kilometers) east of Bermuda, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

With maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers), the storm was headed in a northeasterly direction, moving at a speed of 12 miles per hour (19 kilometers per hour).

Rina's pace was expected to pick up throughout the day, the NHC said.

This season was expected to be above average, with 11 to 17 named storms anticipated at the outset, a figure forecasters revised upward to 14-19 in August.

In an update posted on November 1, the NHC said 2017 so far has been "well above average" in terms of the number of storm activity, compared to the 1981-2010 average.

Normally there are about 12 named storms -- of which six become hurricanes -- per year in the Atlantic.

With devastating storms like Harvey, Irma and Maria, this has been the busiest Atlantic hurricane season since 2005, when there were 28 named storms, which includes tropical storms and hurricanes.

Current factors that make way for more storms include an ocean that is one to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average, increasing moisture in the tropical air, a weaker wind shear across the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, and stronger wind patterns off Africa which more easily whip up storms, according to NHC lead forecaster Gerry Bell.

The season officially runs from June 1 to November 30.

The death toll from typhoon downpours and floods wreaking havoc along Vietnam's south-central coast has risen to 69, authorities said Tuesday, as the country prepares to host a world leaders' summit.

Typhoon Damrey struck days before Vietnam is set to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Danang next weekend. It will bring together US President Donald Trump, China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin, among other leaders.

While Danang itself was spared the worst damage, muddy floodwaters have submerged the hardest-hit provinces and swamped nearby Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was due to host APEC spouses later this week.

More than 100,000 houses nationwide are still under water, according to a Tuesday report from Vietnam's disaster management authority.

Since the storm made landfall on Saturday 69 people have perished in floods, landslides and on capsized boats at sea, while 30 others are still missing, the government said.

UNICEF said at least four children were among the dead, with two others missing and an estimated one million young people affected by one of the worst storms to hit the area in years.

Authorities warned that raging rivers were filling reservoirs to near-capacity in central and southern provinces, with rain still pelting down in some areas.

Typhoon Damrey, which made landfall last Saturday, is the latest in a string of major storms to thrash Vietnam's long coastline this year.

Flooding and landslides in northern and central regions killed more than 70 people last month.

In September Typhoon Doksuri tore through central Vietnam, killing 11 people across several provinces.

The country has reported at least 240 people dead or missing in floods and landslides since the beginning of the year.

SHAKE AND BLOW
Puerto Rico population to drop 14% after hurricane
Miami (AFP) Nov 7, 2017
Puerto Rico's population is set to decrease by 14 percent to 2.9 million inhabitants by 2019 due to an exodus of residents fleeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in September, a study has found. The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York estimated in a report released last month that about 114,000 to 213,000 Puerto Rican residents will leave the island annua ... read more

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