A very dangerous situation is evolving for the Philippines as Super Typhoon Hagupit, locally known as Ruby, will bear down on the nation this weekend. More than 30 million people will be impacted by this cyclone.
Hagupit rapidly strengthened into a super typhoon on Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday with sustained winds over 255 kph (160 mph), the equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific Ocean.
This animated GIF shows Hagupit tracking westward toward the Philippines. (NOAA/Satellite)
It weakened Thursday evening and into early Friday after going through some strong wind shear. As of Friday evening, Hagupit restrengthened back to a super typhoon, continuing to be a major threat for the Philippines.
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani warned “Even with the frequent intensity changes of Hagupit, it is important that those in its path realize that a deadly, destructive storm surge is still possible near and just north of where landfall occurs.”
The cyclone could still bring catastrophic damage, especially near land-falling areas. Sagliani mentioned “the coast of Western Samar, Northern Samar, Sorsogon, Albany, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes provinces are the most susceptible.”
Wind gusts over 240 kph (150 mph) are expected near landfall in eastern Visayas. Landfall is expected within 100 miles of where Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall last year.
With landfall farther north, the hardest-hit areas by Haiyan will escape the worst tidal surge from Hagupit but will still be severely impacted; this includes the city of Tacloban which was devastated by Haiyan. To make matters worse, some areas are still trying to recover from Haiyan, which will leave them more vulnerable to the impacts of Hagupit.
Rainfall will also produce dramatic flooding along the path of Hagupit with 150-300 mm (6-12 inches) falling across much of Visayas as well as southern and eastern Luzon.