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Pacific Super Typhoon Maysak among strongest on record so early in the season

Super Typhoon Maysak via satellite at 12:30 a.m. EDT March 31, 2015 (NOAA)

An unusually strong spring super typhoon is sweeping across the western Pacific, its eyes set on the northern Philippines for the second half of the coming weekend.

The super typhoon, named Maysak, packs maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. Maysak achieved super typhoon intensity with winds of at least 150 mph on Monday, while undergoing rapid strengthening. It is currently the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane.

By becoming so strong so early in the typhoon season, Maysak has set several historical milestones. In records dating back to 1945 (via Jeff Masters at Wunderground, and

  • It is only the third known super typhoon with winds this strong prior to April 1
  • It is the first time there have been two major typhoons (category 3 or higher) during the first three months of the year
  • It is only the fifth super typhoon to develop prior to April 1 (the last super typhoon prior to April was Mitag in March 2002)
  • Maysak is the third typhoon this year, the most so early in the year
  • Maysak is fourth named storm in the western Pacific in 2015; only one other year has had more, 1965 when there were 5.

Sea surface temperatures were 1.8 – 3.6°F above normal in the part of the western Pacific where Maysak formed and developed, helping to fuel the storm, Masters said.

After slamming the state of Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia over the weekend as a category 1-equivalent storm, Maysak is battering Yap Island today, where a typhoon warning is in effect.

Maysak is forecast to proceed over the open western Pacific waters through Friday and likely approach the Philippines Saturday evening, making landfall during the day Sunday – most likely northeast of Manila.

Due to increasingly hostile upper level winds, Maysak is forecast to gradually weaken over the next several days.  When it makes landfall, its peaks winds may have diminished to around 100 mph though the exact intensity is uncertain.  Even if Maysak’s peak winds drop below 100 mph, they will still be capable of damage while extremely heavy rain and flash flooding will be a major concern.

The International Space Station camera captured the view of Super Typhoon Maysak that continued barreling towards the central Philippines on Wednesday. (Video: The Washington Post)