The strongest typhoon to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) since Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’, ‘Ompong’ [international name Vongfong] has been upgraded to super typhoon category as it packs gusts of up to 250 kilometers per hour (kph) and maximum sustained winds of 215 kph, reports Rappler.
[‘Yolanda’ had gusts of up to 275 kph and carried maximum sustained winds of 235 kph.]
As long as Ompong follows its current projected path, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) officials can breathe a sigh of relief because the storm is not going to make any landfall anywhere in the country,.
In a report posted on the Inquirer, The Weather Channel’s Michael Lowry was quoted as saying, “It’s safe to say Vongfong is the strongest storm on earth since Haiyan last year.”
PAGASA said the storm will not have any direct effect on the country, but it is strengthening the northeasterly winds. This weather system is bringing heavy rains and thunderstorms, causing floods in many parts of Metro Manila even before Ompong entered PAR. No public storm signal was raised anywhere in the country.
As of its last satellite image update at 10 am, PAGASA estimated Ompong to be 1,080 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City. The storm continues to move at 9 kph in a west northwest direction, heading for Japan. It will be located around 920 km east of Calayan, Cagayan on Thursday morning.
Classified as “violent” by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Ompong is estimated to enter Japan on Saturday. The slow-moving storm is also bringing along heavy to intense rains, which could have caused major floods across Luzon had the cyclone moved closer to PH landmass.
Though Ompong is the earth’s strongest typhoon so far this year, it is expected to weaken as it moves north towards Japan.