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Posted at 01:03 PM ET, 12/07/2012

Strengthening Typhoon Bopha may strike Philippines second time, this time in north


Typhoon Bopha at 6:30 a.m. EST (11:30 UTC) today. (Joint Typhoon Warning Center)

Typhoon Bopha is responsible for at least 500 deaths in the southern Philippines, and it may not be done inflicting damage on the storm-ravaged country. Some track forecasts show it reversing course, potentially affecting the northern Philippines in about two days.

Since Wednesday, the storm has dramatically intensified over the South China Sea, with peak winds increasing by 70 mph in the last 12 hours while the pressure dropped a stunning 35 mb. It is now the equivalent of Category 3 hurricane with peak winds of 125 mph which are predicted to strengthen to about 145 mph today (category 4 equivalent), which is super typhoon intensity.

Satellite imagery reveals a dangerous storm, with a well-defined pinhole eye surrounded by deep convection (a fancy word for intense thunderstorms).


Track forecast for Typhoon Bopha in pink (black arrows were drawn on to this map by CWG - to clarify forecast direction of motion). The observed track to date is in black. ( Joint Typhoon Warning Center )
Ominously, the storm may come very close to northwestern Philippines and the island of Luzon (the most populated) on its current track after drifting north-northeast for the next 36 hours. How close it gets to land is not known - it could move inland, just brush the coast or stay over the open water.

“Overall forecast confidence remains low,” says the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

The capital of Manila is within the cone of uncertainty in the forecast track. Fortunately, by the time storm would potentially make its second approach to the Philippines in 36 to 48 hours or so, a weakening trend is forecast to commence.

Irrespective of Bopha’s exact track, the devastated portions of the southern Philippines will not experience a second encounter with this storm and that’s a good thing as a challenging clean-up effort has just begun.


Rescuers recover a body of a typhoon victim as residents searching for their missing relatives look on, while standing among debris swept by floodwaters at the height of Typhoon Bopha in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley, southern Philippines December 7, 2012. (ERIK DE CASTRO - REUTERS)

The Associated Press reports 400 people remain missing and 310,000 people have lost their homes on the southernmost island of Mindanao. Bopha was the strongest typhoon on record to hit that location.

Related: Typhoon Bopha socks southern Philippines | Beastly super typhoon Bopha bears down on Philippines (IMAGES)

By  |  01:03 PM ET, 12/07/2012

Categories:  Latest, International Weather, Tropical Weather

 
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