Tropical Cyclone 22W (Hagupit) is on a course to hit the central islands of the Philipines by the weekend. The storm is currently classified as a Category 4 “super typhoon” but is forecast to weaken to a Category 2 by the time it reaches the Philippines according to a Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) report.
[See full US Naval Observatory weather update graphic as of 1953H 02 Dec 2014 here.]
The Pacific Disaster Center reports…
Typhoon 22W is expected to intensify further as it moves across the western Pacific…into the Philippine Sea. The JTWC expects this system to peak near 130 knots (150 mph)…with gusts of 160 knots (184 mph) within 72 hours.
This system will remain south of Guam and Yap, and then move close to Palau as a a strong typhoon within 48 hours. The extended JTWC forecast suggest that this strong typhoon may briefly reach the super typhoon level…as it moves towards the Philippine Islands.
While it is unlikely that Hagupit will be as powerful as Super Typhoon Haiyan which devastated the Philippines in late 2013, residents in the threatened areas are still vulnerable due to the decrepit infrastructure there and the inadequate disaster response facilities at the disposal of the Philippine government. In the aftermath of Haiyan, observers led by CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper criticised the Philippine government for its appallingly disorganised efforts and lack of credible leadership on the ground during the short critical window when thousands of lives could have been saved.
The JTWC warns, however, that their long-range forecasts carry a high degree of uncertainty which means that the intensity and trajectory forecasts could change over the next several days.
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