Typhoon Surigae continued its sluggish northward journey on Thursday, local time, as the storm continued to lash the northern Philippines with rough surf, heavy rain and strong winds for the sixth consecutive day.
As the storm finally begins to move out to sea during the second half of the week, it will leave behind widespread flooding in addition to a trail of damage across a large portion of the eastern Philippines.
|This infrared satellite image shows Super Typhoon Surigae bringing rain and strong winds to portions of the Philippines on Monday. Image courtesy of CIRA/RAAMB|
Surigae became the first typhoon of 2021 in the West Pacific basin during the middle of last week. The typhoon then set another first, becoming the first super typhoon of the season Saturday, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
The storm was given the name Bising in the Philippines once it entered the area monitored by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administratio. Once a tropical storm or typhoon enters this area, it is given a name by PAGASA separate from the international name that it may have been designated.
At one point Sunday morning, Surigae’s strength was equivalent to a Category 5 major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific oceans. The storm has since lost some wind intensity, though it remains a dangerous typhoon.
|The above satellite loop shows Surigae spinning as a powerful typhoon just east of Luzon, Philippines, on Wednesday. Image courtesy of CIRA/RAMMB|
According to NASA, when Surigae reached Category 5 strength on Saturday, “it marked the earliest date in the year that any storm in the Northern Hemisphere had reached such intensity in modern record-keeping.”
The ferocious storm at one point was packing sustained winds of 190 mph, according to the JTWC.
The storm began lashing the eastern Philippines late Saturday as the outer rain bands reached the Visayas. A tumultuous sea could also be seen just offshore of the province Sunday morning as Surigae approached the area.
As strong winds kicked up dangerous seas across the eastern Philippines over the weekend and early this week, bouts of heavy rain inundated portions of Eastern Visayas and southeastern Luzon.
Widespread rain amounts reached 8-12 inches in the eastern Philippines through Wednesday, resulting in an increased threat of flooding and landslides across the region.
Despite not making landfall, Surigae’s rainfall exceeded 20 inches in some areas. In Virac, 20.13 inches of rain fell in the five days from Saturday to Wednesday.
On Sunday morning, Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua put mandatory evacuation orders in place for residents living near shorelines, riverbanks and landslide-prone areas in the Catanduanes province. This evacuation included more than 100,000 people.
According to the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, a total of nearly 230,000 people were affected.
The NDRRMC reported three deaths from the storm, in addition to the four that died after jumping overboard when their boat began taking on water. Another person remains missing and 10 others were injured.
Due to the flooding and wind from the storm, more than 1,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed.
After turning to the north, Surigae may lose some forward momentum during the second half of the week. By the end of the week, another nontropical storm is forecast to track from China to Japan. This storm may begin to pick up Surigae and turn the typhoon to the east before it gets absorbed by the system.
After turning to the north of the Philippines, Surigae is likely to run into less favorable conditions for tropical cyclones, which should cause the storm to lose wind intensity late next week, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Tony Zartman.
Surigae will still have to be watched closely as impacts to Iwo To and the Volcano Islands to the south of mainland Japan cannot be ruled out.
While there is no official start or end date to the tropical season in the West Pacific, most tropical systems develop between May and October.