The awesome power of Typhoon Bopha was in full view of the International Space Station over the weekend, and since then the Pacific storm has strengthened to super typhoon status with sustained winds greater than 150 mph (240 kilometers per hour). The storm was headed for the Philippines, where memories of last year’s killer storm are still fresh.
“The potential destruction of this typhoon is no joke,” Reuters quoted Philippine President Benigno Aquino as saying in a nationally broadcast address. Thousands of residents of coastal and mountain regions were evacuated in advance of the storm.
Bopha is expected to make landfall on the southern island of Mindanao within hours. The same region was hit last year by Tropical Storm Washi, which killed more than 1,000 people and displaced more than 60,000. This time around, the storm’s winds are more than twice as strong, qualifying Bopha as the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.