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Fig. 1: Surigae became the strongest tropical cyclone on record for April yesterday east of the Philippines after the storm passed over very warm waters.

Warmer than normal ocean surface and tropical cyclone intensification: We’ve seen a plethora of category-5 major tropical cyclones in recent years including Surigae to the east of the Philippines yesterday (Fig. 1). In each case, the tropical cyclone intensified rapidly due to passage over warm water plumes. Surigae’s central pressure plummeted to 900 MB with top wind 190 mph and wave heights well above 50 feet east of the Philippines yesterday.