April 20, 2021 - Super Typoon Surigae

Super Typoon Surigae

The cloud-filled center of powerful Typhoon Surigae spun in the Philippine Sea as a Category-4-equivalent storm on April 18, 2021 as the outer bands brought rain, flooding, and heavy storm surge to the Eastern Philippines. Several regions reported power outages and more than 100,000 people have been evacuated to shelter on higher ground. One death has been attributed to the storm.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of Typhoon Surigae on April 18, when the monster storm was carrying one-minute sustained winds of about 145 mph (233 km), spanned more than 600 miles (966 km), and had already begun to turn away from the Philippines.

While impressive, this was a substantial weakening from the peak strength reached on the afternoon of April 17, when Super Typhoon Surigae burst into the record books by surging from a 90 mph (145 km/h) Category 1 storm to become a strong Category 5 storm, with one-minute sustained winds of with 190 mph (306 km/h) and pressure of only 888 millibars, in just 36 hours. This explosive intensification won Surigae the title of the most intense April typhoon on record. The previous strongest April storm was Typhoon Maysak (2015) with a central pressure of 910 mb. Based on wind speed alone, Surigae also became the strongest typhoon so early in the year, beating Typhoon Hester who sported 185 mph (298 km/h) winds on January 1, 1953. Super Typhoon Surigae also became the fifth-strongest typhoon to ever spin in the Pacific Ocean, behind Hurricane Patricia (2016) which carried 215 mph (346 km/h) winds and 872 mb central pressure; Super Typhoon Goni (2020) with 195 mph (314 km/h) winds and 894 mb; Super Typhoon Haiyan (2013) with 195 mph winds (314 km/h) and 895 mb pressure; and Super Typhoon Meranti (2016), 195 mph winds (314 km/h) and 890 mb pressure. It is possible that stronger typhoons than these have existed, but not reliably-measured storms.

Fortunately, Surigae quickly lost the title of Super Typhoon as winds dropped below 150 mph (241 km/h) and it is turning away from the Philippines. It is expected to steadily weaken as it moves away from land over the next several days.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 4/18/2021
Resolutions: 1km (445.6 KB), 500m (1.3 MB), 250m (3.8 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC