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Category 5 Super Typhoon Chanthu seen in an infrared satellite image Friday, Sept. 10. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

Super Typhoon Chanthu, which has maintained an extreme intensity for days, is slated to make a direct hit on Taiwan beginning Saturday, local time.

Why it matters: The storm, which currently features maximum sustained winds of 180 mph, making it a fearsome Category 5, could cause significant damage as it moves across the highly populated island from south to north.

The big picture: Super Typhoon Chanthu gained global attention from meteorologists when it put on a staggering display of rapid intensification during midweek, with its maximum sustained winds jumping by 130 mph in just two days.

  • According to NOAA meteorologist Sam Lillo, only five previous storms on record have jumped from a depression to a Category 5-equivalent in such a short time period.
  • Rapid intensification is becoming more common due to human-caused global warming from burning fossil fuels, since it is causing ocean and air temperatures to warm. The air can hold about 7% more moisture for every 1-degree Celsius increase in temperature, which serves as energy for such storms.

What's next: The storm, currently churning north of the Philippines, is forecast to continue turning north-northwest on Friday, and gradually weaken to a Category 4-equivalent before making landfall in southern Taiwan on Sept. 11.

  • Damage from extreme winds, torrential rains and storm surge flooding are all in the cards for the island. The storm's center is forecast to move near or over Taipei as a Category 2 storm.
  • While Taiwan is accustomed to typhoons, this one is taking an unusual south-to-north path that maximizes its time spent over the region, and could maximize its damage potential.
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Go deeper

Rare "high-risk" flash flood alert issued as Nicholas nears Louisiana

A street flooded after Tropical Storm Nicholas moved through Galveston, Texas, on Tuesday. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Southwest Louisiana faces a "high risk" of flash flooding from Tropical Depression Nicholas on Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service warned.

Why it matters: Such "high risk" outlooks are rarely issued anywhere in the U.S. There's also a medium risk of flash-flooding in New Orleans, which is still reeling from Hurricane Ida striking the state last month.

Pelosi's back-to-school math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may need votes from an unlikely source — the Republican Party — if she hopes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by next Monday, as she's promised Democratic centrists.

Why it matters: With at least 20 progressives threatening to vote against the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, centrist members are banking on more than 10 Republicans to approve the bill.

By the numbers: Haitian emigration

Expand chart
Data: CBP; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The number of Haitians crossing the U.S.-Mexico border had been rising even before their country's president was assassinated in July and the island was struck by an earthquake a month later.

Why it matters: A spike during the past few weeks — leaving thousands waiting in a makeshift camp under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas — has prompted a crackdown and deportations by the Biden administration.