Typhoon Maysak barrels toward the Philippines

ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti captured this image of Typhoon Maysak while flying over the weather system on board the International Space Station.

Story highlights

  • Maysak has sustained winds of more than 130 mph but is expected to weaken
  • It's forecast to hit the Philippines during the Easter weekend

(CNN)A large storm system dubbed Typhoon Maysak is churning over the Pacific Ocean, days away from a possible direct hit on the Philippines.

Maysak is moving west-northwest after skirting the Federated States of Micronesia, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Its eye is projected to make landfall in the central or northern part of the Philippine island of Luzon on Sunday, though the country's residents could start feeling its effects days before.
    That could interrupt the Easter celebration for many in the predominantly Catholic nation, which may be socked by heavy rains and potent winds. The International Red Cross noted that "many people are expected to throng coastal areas at this time."
    Images of the typhoon as seen from the International Space Station were posted to Twitter, including a Vine video showing the swirling eye of the storm.
    The storm has weakened and is expected to lose more strength before it reaches the Philippines. Its maximum sustained winds on Wednesday were 150 mph, making it a super typhoon in the Joint Typhoon Warning Center's definition.
    But by Thursday, the winds' strength had declined to around 132 mph -- no longer a super typhoon but still the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane.
    Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera told CNN that Maysak could weaken further to become a tropical storm by the time it reaches the Philippine coast.
    "This will not be a catastrophic storm," Cabrera said. That said, it could still cause flooding and bring strong winds, he cautioned.
    The Philippines is frequently hit by typhoons. In December, for instance, Hagupit killed at least 18 people in the East Asian nation and injured hundreds more.