Amazing images of a typhoon heading for the Philippines have been snapped from orbit by two astronauts.
Typhoon Maysak was initially a top-rated category 5 typhoon, causing troops in the Philippines to be put on alert today.
And residents and tourists along the eastern coast have been warned that it will hit land some time in the next 72 hours.
As it moved over the Pacific Ocean, the storm generated winds of more than 225km/h.
It is expected to weaken once it hits the central or northern parts of the main Philippine island of Luzon on Saturday or Sunday.
“Commands respect even from #space: we just flew over typhoon #Maysak,” Esa astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti said in a tweet.
And fellow astronaut Terry Virts, of Nasa, said: “Looking down into the eye – by far the widest one I’ve seen. It semeed like a black hole from a Sci-Fi movie #Maysak.”
â€” Terry W. Virts (@AstroTerry) April 1, 2015
Accuweather.com reported that the storn was one of the strongest cyclones in history during the months of January, February and March.
Although it is expected to weaken slightly, it will still pose a significant threat to islands in its past.
It first developed into a tropical storm last Friday, and now the full power of a super typhoon can be seen in the images.
The steep walls of cloud drop into the eye of the storm, and more than 250mm of rain have been reported under the storm.
“This is very strong and it will maintain its strength as it nears, although we expect that the typhoon will weaken,” Esperanza Cayanan, an officer at the weather bureau, said in a televised briefing.
“But this will still be typhoon intensity so it will bring strong winds when it makes landfall on the eastern coast.”
British-based Tropical Storm Risk said Maysak would likely weaken to a category 2 typhoon, with maximum winds of up to 175km/h when it hits land.
The typhoon could damage rice and corn crops in central and northern areas of the Philippines, although damage is likely to be minimal because the major harvest of the national staple rice was finished around February.
Alexander Pama, executive director of the national disaster agency, said the biggest challenge for authorities would be keeping foreign and Filipino tourists travelling to northern provinces for the weekend safe when Maysak makes landfall.
Thousands of Filipinos have already begun travelling to the provinces and popular tourist spots before the Easter weekend.
Maysak is not expected to make landfall where another category 5 typhoon, Haiyan, struck more than a year ago, leaving nearly 8000 dead or missing.
The storm is expected to dissipate shortly after it leaves the Philippines.
– NZ Herald/APNZ