The strongest tropical cyclone on earth so far in 2015 has just entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility, but fortunately it is not expected to make landfall here.
Soudelor, local name Hanna, became the fifth super typhoon of this year on Monday and currently packs sustained winds of 260 kph and gusts of up to 310 kph. On Tuesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency estimated Soudelor’s central pressure at 900 millibars, making the storm the strongest tropical cyclone on earth so far this year.
Very warm sea surface temperatures coupled with low wind shear have allowed Soudelor to gain strength very quickly, growing from a small storm to a super typhoon in just 48 hours.
The storm is currently moving west-northwest over the open waters of the Western Pacific, steered by high-pressure aloft over Japan, and is not expected to directly affect the Philippines or make any landfall here. It may, however, enhance the southwest monsoon or “habagat” and this may be felt in Visayas and Mindanao, where some increased rainfall is likely which will last until Friday.
While it is missing the Philippines, some of the neighboring countries are expected to be less lucky, with Soudelor expected to make landfall on the far southwest Ryuku Islands of Japan Friday night, before moving on to Taiwan on Saturday and Southeast China on Sunday.