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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Supertyphoon Nida explodes to a monster

UPDATE: AccuWeather is reporting that on Wednesday, Super Typhoon Nida actually hit a sustained windspeed of 185 MPH making it the strongest storm of the 2009 Pacific Season, second only to Hurricane Rick in the eastern Pacific in October.

Nida Is Mightiest Tropical System of 2009 (AccuWeather)
As of Friday morning, EST, Typhoon Nida packed the Category 4 punch of 150-mph top sustained as it churned open seas northwest of Guam. Nida was tracking toward the north at a lazy 5-mph clip.

Strong as this was, Nida`s Category 4 status on Friday was significantly below its peak intensity. On Wednesday, top winds about the eye of Nida rose to a phenomenal 185-mph clip--well into the rank of Category 5. And sea level pressure caved in to only 905 millibars, or 26.72 inches of mercury. These vital statistics were high enough to lift Nida to the top of the list of Earth`s most intense tropical cyclones of 2009.
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Graphic courtesy of Weather Underground

Super typhoon Nida has rapidly exploded to become the most intense storm of the season worldwide. Sustained winds over 165 MPH with gusts as high as 207 MPH make Nida a very severe storm. The storm is so strong and the eye large enough that the ocean below can be seen through it. In addition to the high winds, waves as high as 44 feet have been measured near the eye.

Powerful Super Typhoon Nida churns in the Pacific packing 175 mph winds (Examiner)

One of the most powerful tropical cyclones of the year is churning in the open waters of the Pacific and packing astounding winds gusting to 207 mph. Super Typhoon Nida has encountered ideal conditions allowing it to strengthen to a massive storm faster and stronger than forecast.

Satellite imagery shows a massive storm with a very well defined eye wall – so perfect that the ocean can be seen through the eye. Sustained winds of 175 mph gusting to over 200 mph which would make it the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Wave heights of 44 feet are being realized near the center of Nida.

Nida is currently 178 miles west-southwest of the United States territory of Guam according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Moving northwest at 15 mph, the storm is passing between Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and the island of Yap. The southwestern side of Guam and the northeastern side of Yap will experience heavy surf as the storm passes.


Caption: The MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Super Typhoon Nida early on Nov. 25 that shows a perfectly symmetrical storm and a clear eye, both hallmarks of a powerful typhoon.

Credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team

NASA's Aqua satellite sees Nida explode into a category 5 Super Typhoon (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Typhoon Nida is in a favorable environment that has enabled it to intensify faster and stronger than previously forecast, and has now exploded into a Super typhoon. NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Nida and captured a visible image of the storm revealing a clear eye, which indicates a strong typhoon.

The Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Super Typhoon Nida on November 25 at 0355 UTC (November 24 at 10:55 p.m. ET). The image clearly revealed an eye that showed the surface of the northwestern Pacific Ocean! The MODIS image showed a tightly circulating symmetrical hurricane form.

At 10 a.m. ET on November 25, Super Typhoon Nida had maximum sustained winds near 172 mph (150 knots) with gusts as high as 207 mph! A category five typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson scale has sustained winds greater than 155 mph. Typhoon-force winds extend as far as 45 miles from Nida's center, while tropical storm-force winds extend out as far as 105 miles from Nida's center.

Nida was about 155 miles west-southwest of Guam, near 12.6 North latitude and 142.2 East longitude. It was moving to the northwest near 15 mph, and its powerful winds were kicking up dangerously high waves up to 44 feet high!

Nida is not expected to pass directly over any landmasses although it is currently passing rather close to Yap and Andersen Air Force Base. These area will certainly experience heavy rain and battering wind and surf.

The projected path shows Nida moving fairly slowly as the typhoon makes a gentle turn from a northwesterly direction toward the northeast. As Nida's forward speed increases, the typhoon will make a hard right and head mostly towards the east as its intensity diminishes. It is projected to pass to the south of Iwo Two and the main islands of Japan but will affect the small islands dotted all over the western Pacific.

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