Category 5 Super Typhoon Meranti is strongest storm of 2016 season
Churning the waters of the Northwest Pacific is the strongest tropical cyclone of the 2016 Northern Hemisphere season: Super Typhoon Meranti.
The storm, which according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center had maximum sustained winds of 155 knots, or nearly 180 miles per hour, as of Monday morning eastern time, has southern Taiwan and coastal China in its sights for the middle of the week.
Thankfully, though, it may be reaching its maximum potential intensity far from land.
On satellite imagery Monday, the storm resembles a textbook image of a powerful typhoon. It is converting heat built up in the ocean into towering, spiraling thunderstorms, with a pinpoint-sized eye in the middle, where the air pressure is lowest.
In the narrow ring of storms surrounding the eye, known as the "eye wall," the storm may be capable of producing wind gusts of nearly 215 miles per hour, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center