By at least one measure, Cyclone Sidr has reached Category 5 strength, with 161 mph winds, according to the latest from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, which until now had been wrongly predicting a weakening of the storm.
It still predicts some weakening and expects the massive hurricane to make landfall near the border of vulnerable western Bangladesh and northeastern India, near Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), as a Category 4 monster. Landfall is expected sometime Friday morning local time.
Past storms that have struck Bangladesh at that intensity have caused massive casualties that numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Nine of the world's 13 deadliest hurricanes have occurred in the Bay of Bengal.
Bangladesh, with 142 million people living in flood-prone areas, is among the most vulnerable places for a hurricane to strike.
Bangladesh is also considered by some national security experts to be ground zero for the intersection of global warming and geopolitical instability, as repeated flooding and sea intrusion could force a future refugee crisis.
This monster storm is headed for landfall in about a day, and it could be a harbinger of things to come.
Scroll down to see the expected path of Sidr. It is expected to pack 132 mph winds at that point, enough to make it a weak Category 4 storm.
Joint Typhoon Warning Center
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