Haima (locally known as Lawin) is now the strongest storm on earth and competing with Meranti to be the strongest storm of 2016,and winds pressure down to 900hpa and winds gusting to 175kts. I can NOT stress enough how dangerous this storm is. I know “signal 2” has been issued in NE Luzon but that could be misleading, its not going to stay that way, conditions will go down hill fast today as the outer rain bands start to come on shore and through the overnight hours after sunset it will go from bad to really bad.. ask people who went through past super typhoons how fast conditions will change. This morning is the time to prep, evacuate etc. with tonight being too late and for those in North East Luzon conditions by Wednesday night will already be dangerous.
Outer rain bands will start to impact North East Luzon Wednesday morning with landfall likely in Cagayan around mid-night. Max winds at landfall could be gusting well over 300kph, high enough to down trees, power lines toss vehicles and with weaker structures completely destroy them with the wind alone.
This will be true further inland as well specifically for the cities of Tuguegarao and Iligan in Northern Luzon.
The wind damage is one thing but storm surge is a whole other monster as we seen in storms past. Good news is the immediate coast of Cagayan through Isabela east of the Sierra Madre mountains is sparsely populated (likely because of typhoons) and those that do live there understand the risk and will hopefully move to higher ground ahead of the storm.
Water vapor imagery shows a absurd amount of rainfall inside this storm. Floods are going to be wide spread in north east Luzon especially in poor drainage and urban areas. Furthermore this same region is still drying up from last week’s typhoon making increasing the risk of additional flooding.
For those who want to follow someone who is ahead of the storm and will be filming from inside of it do check out the twitter feed below.
Will the track change..
One of the most common questions I get, “Is it possible for the storms track to change north or south?” Two things to answer this question.
1 ) The question is always going to be “yes”. Of course it is possible for the storms track to change, a better question would be “what are the chances or is it likely”.
2) At this time it the track does waver it shouldn’t be too much, most model consensus and the agencies all agree on the track to the north west following south of a high pressure ridge located near Okinawa before turning north towards the Hong Kong area later in the week.