Megi has undergone rapid intensification late Saturday night, and is now classified as a “Super Typhoon” as it tracks toward the northern Philippines.
Full details on this amazing tropical storm – central air pressure 893hPa – below, including maps and images via weather.com
Megi (Korean for “catfish”), became the first tropical cyclone in the western Pacific Basin to achieve “Super Typhoon” status this year, with maximum sustained winds at least 241km/h. Late Sunday morning, peak sustained winds had reached an incredible 290 km/h, with gusts estimated to 354 km/h! This is easily Category 5 strength.
Its central pressure was measured by reconnaissance aircraft to have plunged as low as 893 mb. While reconnaissance is not routine for western Pacific tropical cyclones, this aircraft not only measured the incredible low pressure and high winds, but also witnessed lighting in the eyewall, a signature of an intensifying tropical cyclone.
There have been only 3 Atlantic hurricanes on record with a lower central pressure than Megi:
Megi’s central pressure was lower than the following infamous hurricanes at their lowest pressure:
Typhoon Tip (1979) holds the record in any basin for the lowest recorded pressure, an incredible 870 mb, 12 mb lower than Wilma.
According to the latest forecast path, Megi will plow into the northern Philippine island of Luzon Sunday night, U.S. time. Currently, Megi is expected to pass north of the Philippine capital, Manila (population: 20 million).
Typhoon warnings were posted by the Philippine government along coastal and landslide-prone parts of Luzon. Authorities were urged to suspend fishing and sea travel. Residents of low-lying Cagayan and Isabella Provinces had voluntarily evacuated to higher ground.
It had been quiet in the western Pacific Basin. According to Florida State University’s Dr. Ryan Maue, prior to Megi’s formation, 2010 season activity in the western Pacific had dipped to historic lows, with reliable records dating back to 1945.
There have been only 14 named storms, including Megi, in the western Pacific Basin so far this season. The least number in one season was 18 named storms in 1998.