Satellite images of Vongfong have revealed a center (eye) 40 kilometers in size, surrounded by a giant swirling disc of cloud, northeast of the Philippines. Winds is believed in excess of 230 kilometers per hour. Those are the strongest in the world so far this year. This would place Vongfong among the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. Ocean waves were already as high as 50 feet. Over the course of 24 hours, Typhoon Vongfong rapidly strengthened from a Category 3 to Category 5.
Vongfong is the strongest tropical cyclone to form anywhere in the world since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines last November killing more than 7,000 people. Typhoons can develop during any time of the year in the western Pacific. Vongfong passed through U.S. islands in the Marianas earlier this week, with little damage reported. Now it’s moving slowly in a west-northwest direction. It is expected to lose its intensity, dropping to a Cat 3 by the time it reaches shore at the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on Saturday October 11.