[Article UPDATED at 5:00 p.m., December 4, 2014]
Brace yourselves, fellas: A H-U-G-E storm is headed our way!
According to PAGASA, Typhoon Ruby is making a beeline to the Philippines and has already entered the PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility). It was formerly called "Hagupit" before it officially entered PAR.
That relatively mild weather outside? That could change to something gloomier in the coming days. Because we don't want any of you to be unprepared, we're sharing with you all the things you need to know about this incoming force of nature!
Based on the most recent weather reports, typhoon Ruby is predicted to follow one of two paths:
Image via Philstar.com
In this scenario, Ruby will make landfall on Saturday afternoon, December 6, in Eastern Visayas. The typhoon will plow its way through the Visayas region before exiting into the Sulu Sea. This means rains and strong winds will be felt by residents in places such as Mindoro, Bicol, and Palawan.
Image via Accuweather.com
Another scenario involves Ruby slowing down after entering PAR, not making landfall, and instead skirting the country and veering towards Japan. "Maaaring lumiko ito papuntang Japan. Pagdating ng Huwebes, unti-unti siyang babagal," explains Nathaniel "Mang Tani" Cruz, GMA News' resident meteorologist. "Pagbagal niya, tumataas ang posibilidad na magbago siya ng landas patungong Japan,"
It goes without saying that Scenario 2 is what we're hoping for (sorry, Japan!). However, it only has a 25-percent chance of happening, according to PAGASA.
IS IT YOLANDA-LEVEL?
The typhoon's name (at least before it was changed) makes us think of widespread destruction, the kind that can inspire the making of a post-apocalyptic movie. Say it: "Hagupit." See?
So, is it as strong as Yolanda, which is among the strongest typhoons ever recorded?
"Still remember me?"
(GIF via Weather.com.ph)
As of 5 p.m. today (December 4) , Ruby is packing wind speeds of up to 205kph near the center with gustiness approaching the 270kph mark. Very strong, but certainly not Yolanda-level. Yolanda packed a whopping maximum sustained winds of 314kph so it's a pretty lopsided contest.
The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) has also officially declared that Ruby as a legit super typhoon (a typhoon is classified as a super typhoon when its winds reach 240kph)! PAGASA though has clarified that we don't use the term "super typhoon" here in the country, instead we classify a typhoon's power by Storm Signals (I, II, III, IV).
So yeah, we better be prepared! At its current strength, Ruby is already strong enough to uproot trees of all sizes, destroy power lines, and severely damage homes and even concrete structures according to the Saffir-Simpson wind speed scale.
THE AREAS THAT WILL BE AFFECTED
If current forecasts hold, 56 provinces are in danger of being hit by Ruby according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and PAGASA. The list includes Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Davao del Norte, Iloilo, Palawan, and Romblon. (Click here for the full list!)
PAGASA also warns that Ruby's arrival might bring a storm surge (rising water caused by an approaching typhoon) that will devastate coastal areas. According to the report below, 40 provinces—mostly in the Eastern Visayas region—are possibly in danger:
Video via ABS-CBN News
The typhoon will also bring moderate to heavy rains over Metro Manila and Southern Luzon if the first scenario (Eastern Visayas landfall) happens. However, a Luzon landfall is unlikely, according to PAGASA forecaster Aldczar Aurelio.