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Pacific Typhoons Could Become Monster

Two powerful Pacific typhoons could merge over the next fewdays in a rare event that will generate a monster storm thatcould threaten the entire Pacific region.

The Australian-Pacific Center for Emergency and DisasterInformation has graded Olaf as a Category 4 typhoon, withsustained winds of 155 miles per hour. Olaf is currentlyover Samoa and American Samoa.

The second, somewhat weaker typhoon, Nancy, is over the CookIslands, and the two storms are expected to collide onThursday or Friday. The Cooks were struck by anothertyphoon, Meena, just 10 days ago, and seas described as"phenomenal" were buffeting the east coast of the island,where sea walls were damaged by Meena.

If the two storms merge, they will circle around oneanother, resulting in the Cook Islands being, in effect,struck twice by the monster system.

The Pacific, which was slammed by 20 typhoons last year, isbecoming an area of permanent weather upheaval as theincreasingly extreme temperature differences between thelower atmosphere and the stratosphere cause more and morestorm activity. This change is due to global warming, whichcauses the lower atmosphere to retain more heat than normal,and therefore makes the stratospehre colder. The greater thedifference, the bigger the storms--especially over the oceans.

Today theKyotoTreaty on Global Warming went into effectworldwide. The United States did not participate.

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