|Latest projected track of Typhoon Pablo after it caused havoc in Mindanao and the Visayas on Tuesday. The typhoon is expected to make landfall again over Palawan island on Wednesday morning. US JTWC image
JTWC: Pablo to regain strength as it heads for Palawan
UK Met Office: Pablo most intense typhoon in Mindanao's history
MANILA, Philippines - Heavy rains being spawned by Typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha) are comparable or even more intense than rains bought by tropical storms Sendong and Ondoy, new data from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) showed.
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite data showed that the typhoon had been carrying as much as 80 millimeters per hour of rainfall near its eye and in intense rain bands spiraling around the eye before Pablo slammed into Mindanao early Tuesday morning.
US space agency NASA, in latest advisory on Pablo, said its TRMM satellite passed over the typhoon again on December 4.
"The heaviest rainfall was falling from northeast to southeast of the center, occurring at a rate of 2 inches/50 millimeters per hour," NASA said.
To compare, Sendong last year poured rainfall of over 50mm/hr while Ondoy dumped 56.83 mm/hr of rainfall on Metro Manila in September 2009.
"Satellite imagery showed that the strongest thunderstorms and heaviest rainfall were over the Sulu Sea. The storm's center was still well-defined, and there were still bands of thunderstorms feeding into the center, but the banding decreased on the eastern side of the storm," NASA said.
The typhoon will regain strength as it moves in open waters and heads for Palawan island early Wednesday after lashing Mindanao and the Visayas, US meteorologists said.
"[Pablo] will transit through a region of favorable sea surface temperatures with a favorable upper level environment," the US Navy and Air Forces' Joint Typhoon Watch Center (JTWC) said in its latest advisory.
"Intensity is expected to slightly increase by TAU 36 [in 36 hours] as [Pablo] moves over more open waters. Intensity is expected to peak [in 48 hours]," it added.
The typhoon's track indicates that it may hit Palawan Wednesday morning before heading out into the West Philippine Sea.
Philippine state weather bureau PAGASA, in its 11 p.m. bulletin Tuesday, said the typhoon is now carrying maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of 170 kph, down from 175 kph 10-minute sustained winds when it made landfall over Baranga in Davao Oriental.
The typhoon, which has killed at least 81 people in Mindanao, is expected to be 750 km west of Metro Manila by Thursday and leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Friday.
Public storm warning signal number 3 has been raised over Northern Palawan, the Calamian group of islands, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, Bohol, Siquijor, Southern Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Negros Occidental.
The JTWC and other overseas weather agencies, which use wind and rain readings different from methods used by PAGASA, said Pablo reached supertyphoon status comparable to a Category 5 cyclone in the Western hemisphere before it made landfall.
Pablo was the strongest typhoon in Mindanao's history, according to the UK's Met Office.
The typhoon, which has spawned flashfloods, caused landslides, and toppled trees in the southern Philippines, produced 92mm of rain in 6 hours at Malaybalay in Mindanao.
"Typhoon Bopha is the most intense tropical cyclone to make landfall anywhere on the globe since Typhoon Megi (Juan) in October 2010," the Met Office said on Twitter.