What’s so Super about Super Typhoons?

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Who can boast of being faster than a speeding bullet? More powerful than a locomotive? And able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Ordinary men just won’t do; the only one who can accomplish all three is Superman.

When shopping for food, we automatically head to the grocery. But throw household appliances, kitchenware and pet food into your shopping list, then you need more than a grocery; you need to go to a supermarket.

From super pizzas to superstars, the word super is a powerful word that effectively ups the ante of everyday things. Finding its origin in Latin, super means above and beyond, or to an especially high degree. It is similar to its Greek counterpart, hypér, which is also often used.

Enter, Super Typhoons

This merry month of May, PAGASA officially declared an addition to their usual roster of tropical cyclone classifications according to wind speeds. Aside from the Tropical Depression (up to 61 kilometers/hour), Tropical Storm (62-117 kilometers/hour), and Typhoon (118-220 kilometers/hour), the category Super Typhoon is also up and running for cyclones packing wind speeds of more than 220 kilometers/hour.

This new category was adopted for several reasons: to impress on the public the severity of the typhoon and its massive impact, especially in light of what Filipinos experienced with Yolanda in 2013; and to match our classifications with those of other weather monitoring agencies across the globe.

Consequently, Signal number 5 was also added to PAGASA’s list of Public Storm Warming Signals to alert the public of an incoming Super Typhoon within 12 hours. Since Super Typhoons can cause widespread damage, including storm surges 4 meters or higher, PAGASA hopes to instill a sense of urgency among the public with this new warning signal.

The Power of Super
Practical knowledge dictates that the power of super must never be underestimated. Whatever word follows this prefix, it is sure to be of greater size, extent, and quality.

So, when you hear of an incoming Super Typhoon, brace yourself for its impact that surpasses normal expectations. During these times, it’s best to be super prepared.