What began as a tropical depression on March 27 has quickly gained in size and force to become a record breaking Category 5 typhoon. Super Typhoon Maysak has been centered over Micronesia for most of the day, and five people have already reportedly been killed by the storm in Micronesia’s Chuuk State. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center recorded sustained winds of up to 160 miles per hour, with gusts being reported of up to 195 miles per hour. According to Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, these high wind recordings make Typhoon Maysak “one of only three Category 5 storms ever observed in the Northwestern Pacific prior to April.”
“According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) database, 2015 is now the only season since records began in 1945 to feature three typhoons during the first three months of the year (January, February, and March), and also the first season to have two major typhoons (Category 3 or stronger) during the first three months of the year. Maysak is the fourth named storm so far in 2015 in the Northwestern Pacific, and only one other year since 1945 had more named storms by this point–1965, when there were five named storms by the end of March.”
NASA Astronaut Terry Virts is currently stationed on the International Space Station, where he has been sharing pictures he’s been taking on social media sites like Twitter. Early this morning, he captured breath-taking but terrifying pictures of Super Typhoon Maysak.
As the eye of the storm passed below him, he tweeted out a picture with the caption, “Looking down into the eye – by far the widest one I’ve seen. It seemed like a black hole from a Sci-Fi movie”
Maysak, which killed five people before it was even upgraded to a Super Typhoon, beat a path through Micronesia’s Chuuk State, on its way to Yap and other Micronesian islands, where it will land tomorrow morning. It is expected that Maysak will hit the Philippines by early Saturday, though according to Derek Williams of the U.S. National Weather Service, Super Typhoon Maysak is expected to weaken before it makes landfall. Weather warnings are in place for Yap, Fais, and Ulithi, Williams says, because the storm is an impending threat to the low-lying islands.
“Our main concern is the atolls northwest of Yap, Fais and Ulithi. The sustained winds are around 150 miles per hour at this point, gusting to 180 mph. The weather conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Typhoon conditions on Fais is imminent, the entire island could be covered in water from storm surge.”
Carlotta Leon Guerrero, the executive director of the non-profit Ayuda Foundation, says that relief efforts are already in place to help out people affected by storm. The Ayuda Foundation, which is part of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures and provides help and relief from disasters in the Pacific Islands, already has a 40-foot container in place to load with supplies for those who were caught in the wake of Super Typhoon Maysak’s destructive path.
[Image Credit: Discover Magazine]