Zooming around with Zoe: Super Typhoon Surigae


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The strongest tropical cyclone of the year barely missed the Philippines last weekend, but still broke numerous records. Let’s zoom to Super Typhoon Surigae.

This typhoon is the third category 5 tropical cyclone of the year, but the first in the Northern Hemisphere. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center confirmed it is now the strongest storm in history to form in the month of April, with maximum sustained winds of 190 mph.

Only four other tropical cyclones worldwide have been reliably measured with higher wind speeds, making this the fifth strongest cyclone on record when it comes to sustained winds. It was a beast of a storm due to low pressure as well, measuring 895 mb, one of the lowest readings ever recorded.

Known as Bising in the Philippines, Super Typhoon Surigae began as a category 1 storm on April 17 and quickly exploded into a category 5 super typhoon just 24 hours later with impressive symmetry. This is an example of rapid intensification, or when there is an increase in the maximum sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 35 mph over a 24 hour period.

Surigae more than doubled that criteria, with wind speeds increasing almost 100 mph in just one day. Many scientists believe rapid intensification of cyclones will only become more common with climate change.

The Philippines were battered by intense winds, rain and huge waves, killing one and causing almost 100,000 to evacuate. Fortunately, Surigae narrowly missed landfall as it weakened and curved out to open waters.

Don’t forget, Atlantic Hurricane season starts June 1, but a tropical storm forming before then is still possible, just like in the Pacific. Let’s all continue to stay weather-aware.

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