In July, Tropical Storm Khanun was officially upgraded to a typhoon to make the news more interesting and give the impression that government officials were doing something. The upgrade also helped the Korean Meteorological Administration meet its prediction of five typhoons striking the country this summer.
Then in August, the public were warned that Super-Strong Typhoon Bolaven would be the 'strongest typhoon to hit the nation in decades', shortly before missed it by traveling up the West Sea as a fading tropical depression.
Controversy then arose over the path of the storm, with the Korean Meteorological Administration claiming it took one path, and every other weather forecasting agency in the world claiming it took another, raising suspicions that the administration fabricated data to meet its previous forecast. It was later claimed however that the KMA had merely launched a retrospective forecast based on newly-discovered historical facts.
Some say the issue merely shows that the Korean Meteorological Administration couldn't forecast a meteor in a meteor shower, but others have attempted to defend the organization, pointing out that it may have experienced problems in forecasting due to a decision to buy LIDAR equipment with a 10 kilometer range rather than 15, although this was absolutely nothing to do with the head of the KMA allegedly offering business favors to a company he used to work for, which supplied the less powerful equipment.
Whatever forecasts the KMA issues, with tropical storms now regularly being upgraded to typhoons to meet forecasting quotas and sell newspapers the troubling question has now arisen as to what to call a real typhoon - and one currently forecast to hit with a category 2 to 6 strength - which genuinely threatens the country.
Some have argued it should be called 'Killer Typhoon Sanba', but this description is not likely to be strictly accurate until it hits Korea, and consensus now appears to be forming around calling the killer storm 'Ultra-Typhoon Sanba'. This would leave the option open to any category 4 and 5 storms being called 'ultra-mega typhoons'. Ultimately though, it is thought that entirely new adjectives may need to be created to describe severe storms if the wind from your electric fan now classifies as typhoon strength in newspapers such as The Korea Herald.
According to data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Ultra-Typhoon Sanba is expected to hit South Korea at 12:00GMT on Monday 17th September with winds of 212km/h and a storm surge of 4 to 5.5 meters, causing major damage, but higher newspaper sales and television news ratings.
With only days remaining before the storm hits, citizens are now likely to be kept busy over the weekend pasting newspapers over their windows, as wet Korean newspapers are known to protect homes from the effects of ultra-typhoons.
Typhoon Sanba is forecast to strike South Korea at about 12:00 GMT on 17 September.
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