Cloud 9 Tower Destroyed
Last Thursday, Typhoon Odette made landfall in the Phillippines, causing widespread damage across the southern and central parts of the archipelago.
The system was first identified back on December 10th as a slow moving tropical depression. On the 13th, the depression deepened and the Japanese Meteorological Agency named it Typhoon Rai.
Rai maintained an east/west path towards the Philippines, with the Filipino government naming it Typhoon Odette (there exists no regional co-operation as there is between the Australian and Fijian met services).
Despite a Cat 2 landfall forecast, on the 15th, Odette underwent rapid intensification as it approached the coast and was revised to a Category 5 'Super Typhoon' classification - for a typhoon with winds above 120 knots/220 km/h.
It first crossed land at Siargao Island, with wind gusts reaching up to 180 knots - 333 km/h. The onslaught destroyed the tower at the Philippines most famous wave, Cloud 9, and caused widespead damage and loss of life.
Super Typhoon Odette continued across the Philippines, weakening slightly to a Cat 4 as it approached the Sulu Sea before again reintensifying back to Cat 5 near the Spratly Islands. Odette is currently sending large surf to Vietnam, Malaysia, and the nearby Riau Islands.
It's only the third time a Super Typhoon has passed through the South China Sea. Also, Odette was only the second Super Typhoon to form in December.
In total, the UN expects 13 million people to be affected by Odette/Rai.