Viscous Typhoon Wutip Approaching Guam

Snow in the hills outside Los Angeles, move over. There’s a new freak weather event in town.

Typhoon Wutip is currently gathering strength just south of Guam, making it the first typhoon of 2019 and just the second one on record to spin up in this part of the Pacific in February, according to data kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The freak typhoon is just south of the island, but is making a sharp turn northward and could clip Guam this weekend.

As of late Friday night local time, Wutip was packing sustained winds of 120 mph, making it the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane pushing wave heights up to 41 feet according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Gusts are cranking up to 150 mph, and the storm is projected to maintain this level of intensity into Saturday before weakening a little as it continues to wend its way toward the northwest.

While Wutip’s stats aren’t as exceptional as some of the other monster typhoons that can roar across this part of the Pacific, its timing is certainly weird. Only one other typhoon has ever been recorded this close to Guam in February, according to NOAA. That would be Typhoon Irma for my tropical Pacific stans, which skirted the island as a Category 1-level storm in 1953. The island saw wind gusts up to 63 mph and 6 inches of rain according to historical reports. Whether Wutip outdoes that remains to be seen.

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SOURCE: Earther – Gizmodo, by Brian Kahn