MANILA (Dec. 3, 2014) — The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center of the US Navy on Wednesday said “Hagupit” will become a super typhoon in 48 hours.
“Favorable sea surface temperatures, along with continually favorable upper-level conditions, will allow the system to further intensify and is expected to reach super typhoon status by TAU 48,” the JTWC said.
It said the storm was packing one-minute sustained winds of 166 kph (90 knots) as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Manila time.
The JTWC forecasts Hagupit to pack as much as 240 kph (130 knots) winds by December 5 (Friday), 8 a.m., when it is nearer the Philippines.
Philippine state weather bureau PAGASA said Hagupit remains outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR). The typhoon was spotted 1,610 kilometers east of Davao City as of 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Hagupit, which will be named “Ruby” once it enters PAR on Thursday, was packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gusts of up to 170 kph.
Hagupit was moving west northwest at 30 kph.
At a press conference, PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said Hagupit is expected to grow stronger as it gathers more power over the Pacific Ocean, but he said data show that Hagupit will not be as strong as super typhoon ”Yolanda”, which ravaged parts of Visayas last year.
Upon entering PAR, Aurelio said Hagupit is expected to pack maximum sustained winds of 160 kph near the center and gusts of up to 190 kph. Its winds is expected to produce storm surges as high as 4 meters.
PH LANDFALL OR JAPAN
State weather forecasters said the typhoon will either make landfall in the Philippines or move towards southern Japan and just graze the eastern section of the country.
Hagupit will skirt the Philippine landmass if the high pressure area (HPA), an anti-cyclone system in the northern hemisphere, weakens. This will force Hagupit to re-curve towards southern Japan.
Aurelio explained that a high pressure area was stopping the upward movement of the typhoon, forcing it to move westward and head towards the Philippines.
This year, the Philippines has seen several potentially destructive typhoons skirting the Philippine landmass, including typhoon Ompong (international name: Vongfong), due to the weakening of the high-pressure area above them.
The other scenario is for the typhoon to cross over the Philippines, hitting the Visayas area first.
Aurelio said with the typhoon’s current speed, it might make its first landfall, estimated to be over Eastern Samar, on Saturday afternoon or evening.
PAGASA weather forecaster Benison Estareja, in an interview on dzMM, said based on the Philippines’ climatological history and data, weather disturbances usually head towards the Visayas-Mindanao area during this time of the year.
“Maaari naman itong mag-recurve sa binabantayan nating high pressure system, na kapag ito (high pressure area) ay bumagtas from China to Japan, itong bagyo eh maaaring umakyat,” he said.
Aurelio said another factor why cyclones usually hit the southern portion of the Philippines this time of the year is the Amihan season, which pushes water vapor over off Visayas and Mindanao, setting a favorable condition for the formation or intensification of a cyclone.
The typhoon’s effects will not be felt immediately once it enters the PAR. The rains and winds brought by the typhoon may be felt beginning Friday, PAGASA said.
THREE AGENCIES PREDICT PH LANDFALL
Aurelio said at least three meteorological agencies have already projected that the typhoon will cross over the Philippines.
He said the Japan Meteorological Agency and UK Met Office forecast Hagupit to hit the Visayas, while the Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology projects the typhoon to cross over Southern Luzon.
The National Centers for Environmental Prediction - Global Forecast System, meanwhile, said the typhoon will re-curve towards Japan.
Aurelio said weather observers might be able to determine as early as Thursday what course the typhoon will take.
TACLOBAN BRACES FOR HAGUPIT
The vice-mayor of Yolanda-hit Tacloban City said authorities will implement forced evacuation once it’s certain that a new typhoon will pass through the city.
Tacloban City Vice-Mayor Jerry Yaokasin said about a thousand families remain in over 30 coastal barangays that could be hit if Hagupit batters Tacloban.
Yaokasin said there is a possibility that even Yolanda evacuees currently living in transitional shelters will be evacuated to safer areas.
“The next in line is to implement forced evacuation. That’s the next step that we need to take. Once we know that nasa path na talaga tayo, going west na yung typhoon, definitely we will now strictly enforce forced evacuation because hindi na puede, we have no more excuse. We have already gone through Yolanda and to lose that much lives, it’s beyond our conscience already. And I can say in all honesty, kahit sila mga survivors they are already preparing because they have learned the lessons of Yolanda,” he said in an interview on [email protected]
Yaokasin said the city’s Astrodome will house some of the evacuees while local officials identify other areas. Some evacuation centers constructed in the aftermath of Yolanda have yet to be completed.
Over 6,000 people were killed while hundreds more remain missing in the Philippines after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan). - ABS-CBNews.com