Wutip becomes first-ever Category 5 super typhoon in February

Too early to say if Super Typhoon Wutip will impact on Taiwan, but will likely enter Philippines PAR Thurs.

NOAA animated GIF of Western Pacific.

NOAA animated GIF of Western Pacific.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As Wutip becomes the first Category 5 super typhoon ever seen in the northern hemisphere in the month of February, it is too early to say if it will have any impact on Taiwan, but it will likely enter the Philippines area of responsibility by Thursday.

At 10 a.m. EDT yesterday (Feb. 25), Wutip was packing maximum sustained winds of 259 kilometers per hour (140 knot), making it a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite showed the storm has a perfectly formed eye that is 46 kilometers wide.

At 2 a.m. this morning, the Central Weather Bureau said that Super Typhoon Wutip had a radius of 220 kilometers and was 2,200 kilometers east-southeast of Taiwan's southernmost tip of Eluanbi, moving "slowly" in a north-northwest direction. Wutip was packing maximum sustained winds of 190 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 234 kilometers per hour.

(NASA satellite image of Super Typhoon Wutip)

On his Facebook page, meteorologist Peng Chi-ming (彭啟明) said that the conditions for the future development of Wutip are not good, and it is likely to weaken significantly over the next two or three days. However, Peng emphasized that there are still some variables that need to be taken into account and "It is too early for us to say that it will not impact Taiwan at all."

Peng said more observation is needed, but the public need not be overly concerned.

Meanwhile, Wutip is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Thursday (Feb. 28), according to the Philippine Atmospheric and Astronomical Services (PAGASA). However, Weather specialist Meno Mendoza said Wutip does not yet pose any direct threat to any part of the Philippines, and is slowly moving northwest, reported ABS-CBN News.

CWB satellite image showing Wutip's proximity to Taiwan and the Philippines.

CWB map of Wutip's projected path.

PAGASA image showing Super Typhoon Wutip nearing Philippine area of responsibility.