The first super typhoon of the season in the West Pacific is closely approaching the Central Philippines this weekend.

On Saturday afternoon local time, the typhoon strengthened into a super typhoon with sustained winds of 150 mph (240 kph). By Saturday night the super typhoon had intensified even further to 180 mph (287 kph), which is equivalent to a strong category 5 Atlantic hurricane.

Surigae is now the strongest typhoon on record for the month of April, surpassing Typhoon Thelma in 1956 which had maximum sustained winds of 278 kph (173 mph), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration historical hurricane database.

The current track has Surigae maintaining this strength for the next couple hours prior to weakening while passing just off of the east coast of the Philippines. The outer bands of the super typhoon continue to impact the Philippines. The storm will make its closest approach to the region on Sunday local time bringing with it tropical storm-force winds, heavy rain, and rough seas.

Super Typhoon Surigae has been slowly moving toward the Philippines since it developed earlier this week, yet rapidly intensified on Friday, and then again on Saturday. Rapid intensification occurs when a tropical cyclone strengthens 35 mph in a 24 hour period.

This rapid intensification happened due to the ideal conditions for typhoon development: Wind shear, or the changing of wind speed and direction with height in the atmosphere, has been very low. High wind shear can tear storms like this to pieces, but low shear allows them to feed off the extremely warm waters and flourish into a powerful storm.

Continued low shear and excellent outflow will allow Surigae to thrive in the warm water that is running a few degrees above normal for this time of year.