Super Typhoons Now Less Confusing as PAGASA Aligns with U.S. Definition

The Philippines' weather bureau PAGASA said Wednesday it revised its definition of a super typhoon category to align with U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) to avoid confusion in forecasting.

This means the Philippines now considers storms with at least 185 kilometer-per-hour winds as a super typhoon, from the previous 220 kph requirement, which was the highest in Asia, said weather division officer in charge Jun Galang.

"'Pag nag-declare 'yung JTWC ng supertyphoon, ang PAGASA magde-declare na rin po ng super typhoon kasi kung iko-compare po sa kanila, 185 din po ang equivalent n'ya sa atin," Galang said in a press briefing.

The revised categorization takes effect March 23. If the super typhoon category were revised in 2021, it would have made Typhoon Odette a super typhoon when it slammed into Siargao Island with 195 kph winds on Dec. 16.

PAGASA also tweaked the following classification of tropical cyclones:

Tropical Depression - less than 62 kph maximum sustained winds, with highest wind signal no. 1

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Tropical Storm - from 62 kph to 88 kph maximum sustained winds, with highest wind signal no. 2

Severe Tropical Storm - from 89 kph to 117 kph maximum sustained winds, with highest wind signal no. 3

Typhoon - from 118 kph to 184 kph maximum sustained winds, with highest wind signal no. 4

Super typhoon - 185 kph or higher maximum sustained winds, with highest wind signal no. 5

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