The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is adding a category to its classifications of tropical cyclones. The national weather agency has decided to make the phrase “super typhoon” an official term in the classification process.
In a post on the website of Panahon TV, PAGASA weather forecaster Samuel Duran said yesterday that the use of the phrase “super typhoon” will be implemented next year.
As detailed in the post, “the revision aims to emphasize the intensity of a tropical cyclone and the threat of its impacts. Using the term ‘super typhoon’ will also escalate the sense of urgency and community response in times of an approaching storm.”
This revision brings the classification system up to four levels:
• tropical depression – maximum sustained winds of up to 61 kilometers per hour
• tropical storm – sustained winds of 62 to 118 kph
• typhoon – cyclones with wind speeds ranging from 118 to 220 kph, and
• super typhoon – sustained winds of more than 220 kph.
The term “severe tropical storm will only be applicable for the international warning for shipping, and will not be used for public dissemination, unlike the other categories,” the post noted.
Prior to PAGASA’s decision to make official the use of “super typhoon,” the term was widely employed by local media to describe intense storms, such as Yolanda; which unleashed its fury on the Visayas region in November 2013.