The first super typhoon of the season in the West Pacific is nearly approaching the Central Philippines this weekend.
The super typhoon further intensified on Sunday morning local time, attaining maximum sustained winds of 190 mph (305 kph). This is equivalent to a strong category 5 Atlantic hurricane.
Surigao is now the strongest typhoon on record for April, surpassing Typhoon Maysak in 2015, among others, with maximum sustained winds of 173 mph (278 kph) to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration historical hurricane database.
The current track has Surigae maintaining this strength for at least the next 12 hours before weakening somewhat while passing 183 miles (295 km) east of the Catanduanes region of the Philippines by late Sunday local time. Based on the closeness of Surigao to eastern sections of the Philippines, a signal two alert has been issued for parts of Luzon, Visayas, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar and Mindanao, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
This means winds over 37 mph and up to 75 mph (over 60 kph and up to 120 kph) are expected within the next 24 hours. Additionally, heavy rainfall is expected in these areas that could produce flooding, flash flooding and rain-induced landslides.
Super Typhoon Surigae has been slowly moving toward the Philippines since it developed earlier this week, yet rapidly intensified on Friday and then again on Saturday. Rapid intensification occurs when a tropical cyclone strengthens 35 mph in 24 hours.
This rapid intensification happened because of the ideal conditions for typhoon development: Wind shear, or the changing of wind speed and direction with height in the atmosphere, has been very low. High wind shear can tear storms like this to pieces, but low shear allows them to feed off the hotshot waters and flourish into a powerful storm.
Continued low shear and excellent outflow will allow Surigao to thrive in the warm water running a few degrees above average for this time of year.