Typhoon Rai quickly strengthened as it approached the Philippines
Rai currently has sustained winds of 215 km/h (130 mph), making it the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Favorable conditions throughout the region, including very warm seawater and low wind shear, led the storm to strengthen from a tropical storm into a high-level, potentially catastrophic storm within the past 24 hours. .
Further strengthening is expected and the current forecast from the Combined Typhoon Warning Center is that Rai will reach speeds of 260 km/h as it makes landfall. This would make Rai the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane or super typhoon.
In the Philippines, the storm is named Odette and is being monitored locally by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
The outer bands of the storm are spreading rain over southern and central parts of the country and the situation will deteriorate rapidly in the coming hours.
It is already Thursday in the Philippines, and from Thursday morning to Friday morning the rains are expected to be “heavy to intense and at times torrential,” PAGASA said in its early Thursday morning forecast. Five.
More than 250 mm (10 inches) of rain will fall over parts of Mindanao and Visayas. Intense rain is forecast to cause widespread flooding, flash floods and landslides in higher elevations.
In addition to strong winds, floods and landslides, coastal areas will have to be on the lookout for 3 to 4 meter high tides and shipping vessels will face rough seas over the next few days.
December storms are not uncommon
In the Western Pacific, there is no defined “season” for tropical systems as in other basins such as the North Atlantic (June 1 to November 30). While activity peaks in late summer to early fall, storms can occur in any month of the year.
The Philippines is no stranger to catastrophic storms in December. Over the past decade, many violent and deadly storms have affected the region.