UPDATE: As of 10 a.m. local time on October 20, Super Typhoon Haima is estimated to be at 130 kilometers northwest of Sinait, Ilocos Sur, and is currently packing maximum sustained winds of up to 150 kph and gustiness of 185 kph.
Haima is pursuing its predicted course as it continues to move west-northwest at the speed of 21 kph. Typhoon storm warning signal 3 has already been lifted with some affected areas put under storm warning signals 1 and 2.
See the official post from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s official Facebook page below.
Super Typhoon Haima has become the world’s seventh category 5 storm and the Philippines is at the center point of damages as it plows through the archipelago’s northern provinces.
The Philippines is currently suffering from the wrath of Mother Nature in the form of Super Typhoon Lawin whose international name is Haima.
Haima Strikes The Philippines
According to most recent data released by state weather forecasting agency Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Haima is now working its way through the northern province of Ilocos Norte.
In a post from the agency’s official Facebook page, PAGASA estimated Haima’s location to be at 40 kilometers northwest of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, and is moving west-northwest at a speed of 22 kph as of 8 a.m. local time.
Currently, maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 185 kph near the center while the gustiness is pegged to be up to 230 kph.
Previous reports from PAGASA indicated Haima’s intense winds which were pegged at 140 kph after it made land fall over the Cagayan province at around 11 p.m. local time.
Haima comes a little less than a week after another typhoon with international name Sarika caused rain showers and thunderstorms in North Luzon.
Sarika, which was known locally as Typhoon Karen, displaced nearly 15,000 residents of North Luzon and caused three deaths in the area.
Haima As A Category 5 Storm
PAGASA had forecasted Haima to become a super typhoon even before the storm hit the Philippines’ landmass, according to local broadcaster ABS-CBN.
This, PAGASA meteorologist Aldczar Aurelio tells the outlet, might cause the agency to issue a first-of-its-kind public storm warning signal level 5 which covers winds of at least 221 kph.
At the time, Aurelio noted that the Typhoon Haima is only one kph away from reaching that level of intense winds.
“Magra-raise lang tayo ng signal number 5 kapag naging super typhoon [si Lawin], which is 221 kilometers per hour and above. One [kph] na lang po ang difference, magiging super typhoon na siya,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.
See the translation below.
“We will raise public storm signal number 5 as soon as ‘Lawin’ is upgraded to super typhoon status which covers 221 kilometers per hour and above. As of now, the typhoon is a mere one kph from becoming a super typhoon.”
A few hours later, the forecast has become a reality with Lawin being declared a super typhoon and the public has been warned of a storm level 5 particularly in the North Luzon provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, and northern parts of Abra.
As of the writing of this article, PAGASA has declared it unsafe to travel the seas under this weather particularly in the northern and eastern seaboards of Samar as well as the seaboards of Southern Luzon.
However, public storm signals number 4 and 5 have already been lifted, with areas suffering the worst of the inclement weather under signal number 3.
Classes in all levels, as well as operations in government offices not related to weather watch, emergency, and rescue services, have already been suspended in affected areas.
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) October 19, 2016
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) October 19, 2016
Damages and casualties have yet to be reported, although residents in North Luzon have shared their situation under the onslaught of the storm.
Others are sharing prayers over social media.
According to the Weather Channel, Haima is expected to veer towards China on Friday evening.
However, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) forecasts thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in Tawain, although Haima is not expected to hit the island nation, per a report from the China Post.
[Featured Image by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]