Bopha formed in the western Pacific Ocean as a tropical depression on November 25, 2012, and strengthened into a tropical storm two days later, Unisys Weather reported. Bopha further strengthened into a typhoon on November 30, and a super typhoon later that day. On December 3, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) projected storm track showed Bopha headed for the southern Philippines, expected to make landfall overnight December 3–4, 2012.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on December 2, 2012.The eye of the storm was still located east of Palau. The storm was forecast to pass directly over Mindanao, the easternmost of the Philippine Islands.
On December 3, the JTWC reported that Bopha had maximum sustained winds of 140 knots (260 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 170 knots (315 kilometers per hour). The storm was located about 630 nautical miles (1,170 kilometers) southeast of the Philippine capital of Manila and was moving toward the west-northwest. Agence France-Presse reported that several thousand residents of the Philippines had evacuated coastal and low-lying areas in anticipation of the storm’s arrival.