Typhoon Hagupit takes aim at the Philippines

Manila – Super Typhoon Hagupit — on track to be the world’s most powerful storm this year — is forecast to hit or graze the Philippines by the weekend.

Hagupit strengthened into a typhoon Tuesday and continued to strengthen Wednesday, with sustained winds of 150 mph, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.

That is equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane. A typhoon is the same type of storm as a hurricane but is called a typhoon in the western Pacific Ocean.

The storm was about 800 miles east of the Philippines and could be near the island nation by Saturday.

The Philippine government on Wednesday sent food and medical supplies to central provinces in the path of Hagupit, GMA News reported. Residents of coastal villages and landslide-prone communities were told to move to government-designated evacuation areas.

Hagupit — known by the name Ruby in the Philippines — is forecast to either move directly into the Philippines or turn right and only graze the country. The computer models that meteorologists use to predict a storm’s track don’t agree on the storm’s track.

“If the storm takes the track into the Philippines, the impacts will be potentially very severe with widespread flooding, damaging winds, mudslides, storm surge and pounding surf,” AccuWeather meteorologist Anthony Sagliani said.

A continued west-northwest track would place the central Philippines in the threat zone, including areas still recovering from deadly Super Typhoon Haiyan 13 months ago, the most intense tropical cyclone at landfall in history, the Weather Channel said.