Typhoon Melor bringing stormy weather to the Philippines

14 12 2015

After an extremely active northern hemisphere tropical cyclone season in 2015, the last couple of weeks have been very quiet. This is not unusual as the season often tails off in November and December. However, there has been a sting in the tail in the form of Typhoon Melor. Late last week a disturbance in the western North Pacific started to develop and during the weekend quickly intensified into Typhoon Melor. On Monday morning at landfall, winds averaged over 1-minute peaked near 130 mph which makes Melor equivalent to a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Remarkably that makes Typhoon Melor the 27th tropical cyclone in the northern hemisphere to reach category 4 or 5 this year – a full nine more than the previous record set in 2004.

Melor has already tracked along the north coast of the Philippine island of Samar and has now made landfall over the south-east of the island of Luzon. Population centres such as Sorsogon City and Legazpi City are likely to experience very strong winds and heavy rainfall. Some areas of the central Philippines could see as much as 500-1000 mm of rain fall in the next couple of days which could bring floods and mudslides. Melor is expected to continue westwards towards Mindoro Island before moving into the South China Sea as a weakening storm.

Typhoon Melor at 0710 UTC on 14 December 2015 Image from the Himawari satellite

Typhoon Melor at 0710 UTC on 14 December 2015
Image from the Himawari satellite

Although the main season for typhoons in the Philippines is from June to November, the country has been hit by several storms in December in recent years. In 2012 Typhoon Bopha struck the island of Mindanao with winds near 165 mph causing much damage and numerous fatalities. A year earlier Tropical Storm Washi struck a similar location. Although winds were not exceptional, huge amounts of rain caused flooding and mudslides, again resulting in many casualties.

Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific are produced by the Japan Meteorological Agency. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





Typhoon Hagupit makes landfall in Philippines

7 12 2014

Typhoon Hagupit has made landfall in the eastern Philippines, on a very similar track to the one forecast on Friday. Hagupit (known as Ruby locally in the Philippines) made landfall in the central/east part of the island of Samar, at around 9pm UK time on Saturday 6 December.

Winds have decreased but it remains a very strong tropical cyclone with steady speeds estimated to be around 115mph and gusts peaking around 144mph when it made landfall. The storm is expected to continue to gradually weaken as it continues to track westwards across the Philippines over the next couple of days.

Satellite animation of Typhoon Hagupit 4 December to 7 December 2014

Satellite animation of Typhoon Hagupit 4 December to 7 December 2014

Rainfall on island of Samar has been between 300 and 400mm in the last 24 hours – Borongan has seen 396mm and Catbalogan 360mm. It is expected that the heavy rain will continue to give the greatest impacts as the typhoon moves slowly west over the next few days, bringing the potential to cause give widespread flash flooding and landslides.

The latest forecasts of the track of the typhoon continue to show it moving over the north of the Sibuyan Sea to Masbate/SE Luzon passing to the south of Manila on Monday. Hagupit is expected to have weakened to a Tropical Storm over the South China Sea during Tuesday 9th December (UK time).

The latest forecast of the typhoons path produced by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)

The latest forecast of the typhoons path produced by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)

Met Office scientists continue to work closely with counterparts at the Philippines weather service PAGASA. We are providing the latest information on computer model predictions helping PAGASA to ensure the citizens of Philippines can take the precautions necessary to protect themselves and their property where possible. We have also been providing information to Government departments such as FCO and DFID on the likely impacts of Typhoon Hagupit.

Official warnings of west Pacific tropical storms are produced by the Japan Meteorological Agency. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance.

Met Office StormTracker provides a mapped picture of tropical cyclones around the globe with access to track history and six-day forecast tracks for current tropical cyclones from the Met Office global forecast model and latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





Severe Tropical Storm Rammasun makes landfall in the Philippines

15 07 2014

A severe tropical storm is bringing damaging winds and very high rainfall totals to the Philippines over the coming days as it heads over the island chain.

Severe Tropical Storm Rammasun (also known locally as Typhoon Glenda) has already made landfall over the largest island, Luzon, and is expected to track westward towards the capital, Manila.

It has winds of about 90 mph and gusts of up to 115 mph are forecast, but these could ease slightly as the storm moves inland.

Rammasun will also bring heavy rainfall, with up to 400mm of rain possible over the next two to three days – that’s about a third of the UK’s average rainfall for a whole year.

Legazpi in the south eastern part of Luzon had already seen 181mm of rain in just six hours early on Tuesday – this is more than twice as much as the UK would expect in the whole month of July.

Satellite image of Rammasun from 7am (UK time) this morning. Courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory.

Satellite image of Rammasun from earlier today. Courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory.

The rainfall could cause flooding and landslides, with the largest impact possibly reserved to the populous Manila itself (Greater Metro Manila Area).

A storm surge of up to 1 to 1.5 metres is also expected, coinciding with waves of 3 to 5 metres and spring tides. This could also add to the risk of coastal flooding as the storm passes through.

This could be the strongest tropical storm to affect the Philippines since Milenyo (also known as Typhoon Xangsane) hit the area in 2006.

The Met Office has been working in partnership with PAGASA, the Filipino national forecaster, to provide high resolution forecast modeling for the region. This can help to provide more detailed guidance and warnings on the potential impacts of Rammasun, helping the region prepare so disruption can be minimised.

There are currently no other tropical storms in either the Pacific or the North Atlantic.

Official warnings of west Pacific tropical storms are produced by the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance.

Met Office StormTracker provides a mapped picture of tropical cyclones around the globe with access to track history and six-day forecast tracks for current tropical cyclones from the Met Office global forecast model and latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature.

We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





Cyclone Phailin and more Pacific Typhoons

14 10 2013

As per forecasts discussed in our blog last week, Cyclone Phailin struck the east coast of India over the weekend with winds estimated at near 130 mph.

It brought a strong storm surge along the coast and more than 230 mm (9 inches) of rain was recorded as the cyclone passed.

The cyclone was of a similar strength to one which struck just a little further up the coast in 1999, which claimed more than 10,000 lives.

Excellent forecasts for Phailin, combined with well executed warning and evacuation procedures, meant the loss of life was much less this time around.

Phailin became a tropical storm a little more than three days before landfall, but computer models were able to give far greater warning than this.

Medium range prediction models suggested a higher risk of cyclone formation in the Bay of Bengal a full nine days before Cyclone Phailin struck.

At six days ahead, shorter range models were predicting that the north-eastern coast of India could be under threat, although the timing was not certain at that stage.

Four days ahead, computer models were able to pinpoint the location and timing of landfall to a high degree of accuracy – all before the storm was strong enough to be named.

Cyclone Phailin originated from a disturbance in the far west Pacific basin and was one of a series of tropical storms seen in this region recently.

Stitched image for 0600-0700 HRS on Saturday, 12 October 2013. Phailin is on the left, Nari in the centre, and Wutip on the right. Images from CIMSS http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/

Stitched image for 0600-0700 HRS (GMT) on Saturday, 12 October 2013. Phailin is on the left, Nari in the centre, and Wipha on the right. Images from CIMSS http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/

Nine storms have developed in the west Pacific in the last month, including Typhoons Usagi and Fitow which struck China, Typhoon Wutip which struck Vietnam, and Typhoon Danas which caused heavy rain in South Korea and Japan.

More recently Typhoon Nari crossed the Philippines on Friday and is about to strike Vietnam. Typhoon Wipha may cause disruption in southern Japan and it seems likely another typhoon will develop later this week.

Despite this recent activity, in 2013 the northern hemisphere as a whole has still only had about 60% of the expected activity for this point in the season and regions such at the Atlantic have only seen about 30% of normal activity.

Northern hemisphere activity tends to diminish through November as the southern hemisphere season begins.

Official forecasts of Indian Ocean tropical storms are provided by the Indian Meteorological Department. Official warnings of west Pacific tropical storms are produced by the Japanese Meteological Agency (JMA).

From Tuesday 15th October a graphical display of Met Office forecast tracks of active tropical storms will be available from our web pages. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





Typhoon Roke brings heavy rain and strong winds to Japan

21 09 2011

Typhoon Roke made landfall at about 0600 UTC 21 September near Hamamatsu on the south coast of Japan. Winds were estimated to be close to 100 mph near the typhoon centre and the lowest central pressure recorded was 952mb.

Rainbands extended along way ahead of the typhoon as it approached and 598mm (23.5″) rain were recorded at Tokushima (west of the landfall point) in the 48 hours prior to the centre reaching Japan. Rain and the strongest winds have now cleared from southern and western parts of Japan.

As of 1200 UTC Japan Meteorological Agency still classified Roke as a typhoon centred over eastern parts of Honshu a short distance south-west of Fukushima. Heavy rain is continuing in this region and will do so for a few more hours before clearing. It is likely to be downgraded to a tropical storm soon.

The centre of the storm is currently emerging back out over the ocean east of northern Honshu. It is expected to accelerate north-east and becomes a strong post-tropical storm in the north Pacific Ocean.

Radar imagery of Typhoon Roke

Met Office updates on Twitter: @metofficestorms








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