The Earth’s atmosphere is a dynamic place. There are steady winds that provide clean renewable energy for millions of people, thunderstorms that bring replenishing rains to farmers’ fields, and falling snow that quiets our neighborhoods and brings families out to play. Yet that same atmosphere can also generate powerful, dangerous and life-threatening storms. Weather and climate are at the core of our business and as such we are always trying to stay in touch with it, whether at home or across the globe.
As seen in the images below, yesterday in the Western Pacific, Typhoon Hagupit rapidly strengthened to Super Typhoon strength. Its peak intensity of 180mph is equivalent to a rare high-end Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific basins. The storm is expected to make landfall in the Philippines this weekend, in the same region where Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in November of last year. As one of the strongest tropical systems ever recorded (with a peak wind speed of 195mph and central pressure of 895mb), Haiyan killed an estimated 6,300 people in the Philippines alone. The cleanup and recovery effort from Haiyan is still ongoing as Hagupit approaches. Hagupit is also producing 45 foot waves in the open ocean and is expected to produce 6-24” of rainfall on the Philippine islands. The storm has begun to weaken since its peak intensity, standing this morning at Category 4 intensity with winds of 145mph. High resolution satellite images appear below, courtesy NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory (http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/)