Typhoon Hagupit is approaching the Philippines today as a violent typhoon with winds of 120 MPH and gusts up to 170 MPH. The storm will bring catastrophic flooding, mudslides, significant wind damage, and a 13-foot storm surge to parts of the island country over the weekend.
Hagupit, locally known as "Ruby," reached its peak strength earlier in the week, topping out with maximum sustained winds of 185 MPH. The storm is on a similar track to the one taken by Super Typhoon Haiyan last year—a storm that killed more than 6,000 people and wrought unimaginable damage—but Hagupit is expected to track a little farther to the north.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) expects the typhoon—which it considers "violent" due its intense winds—to maintain its current strength as it slowly moves into the country overnight on Saturday and into Sunday (local time). Hagupit will crawl over the Philippines after making landfall, finally emerging in the South China Sea by early Monday morning (Sunday night in the U.S.—Manila is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time).
This slow forward movement will produce torrential rainfall for a prolonged period of time. Rainfall rates of up to an inch an hour are possible as Hagupit moves through; some areas could see rainfall totals exceeding a foot or more. Needless to say, catastrophic flooding is expected when Hagupit makes landfall, with mudslides likely in communities that flank the bases of hills and mountains.
In addition to the risk for dangerous flooding from Hagupit, winds well in excess of 100 MPH will cause extensive building and infrastructural damage, and east-facing shores could see a four-meter (13-foot) storm surge, according to PAGASA, the Philippines' weather bureau.
In case you were wondering, Typhoon Hagupit has two different names due to a quirk in international naming conventions. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is the United Nations agency responsible for maintaining the list of names used to designate tropical cyclones around the world. Storms that form in the western Pacific are assigned names based on the WMO's list of 140 names contributed by 28 countries bordering the western Pacific Ocean.
Long before the WMO instituted its own naming conventions, the Philippines maintained its own list similar to that used in the United States. For continuity, the Philippines continued to name tropical cyclones that came into its area of responsibility, resulting in two different names for tropical cyclones—the one issued by the WMO and used by the international community (Hagupit), and the one assigned by the Philippines and used locally (Ruby).
[Images: NOAA, JMA]