Active tropical storm season in the Northwest Pacific as another typhoon heads for the Philippines

7 05 2015

Typhoon Noul is currently to the east of the Philippines in the Northwest Pacific, and is heading steadily west-northwest. Noul is expected to continue moving towards the Philippines whilst intensifying further to a very strong typhoon. The storm is expected to make landfall in the Philippines this weekend.

Noul pacific sat pic

There is still some uncertainty in the exact track, but currently Noul looks likely to make landfall on the east coast of Luzon, bringing very strong winds with gusts of 130kt (150mph), coastal and inland flooding with total rainfall accumulations of up to 400mm possible, and potential landslides across large parts of northern Luzon. There is also a risk of significant impacts in Manila if Noul takes a slightly more southerly track.

Track from Japan Meteorological Agency

Track from Japan Meteorological Agency

Although the typhoon is expected to weaken next week, Noul could also bring some heavy rain to parts of Japan.

This is the sixth tropical storm of the north-west Pacific season and the fourth to become a typhoon, which is an unusual level of activity so early in the season. And yet another tropical storm looks set to develop behind Noul, possibly following a similar path.

The Met Office works closely with counterparts at the Philippines weather service PAGASA, providing the latest information on computer model predictions of the likely track and intensity of Typhoon Noul as it nears the country.

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.





Powerful super-typhoon heads for Philippines

1 04 2015

There is currently a super typhoon in the western North Pacific called Maysak. This is a particularly strong storm for the time of year with winds in excess of 160 mph. The strongest storms in this region usually occur between August and October. Tropical storms, including typhoons, are reliant on sea surface temperatures for their energy, and as the northern hemisphere has just moved from winter to spring, this is the coldest time of year for sea temperatures. However, in the region where Typhoon Maysak formed just north of the equator, sea temperatures are almost always above 26°C, which is the critical value for tropical storm formation. Furthermore, the sea temperatures are unusually warm in this area by more than 2°C.

Super Typhoon Maysak is the fourth tropical storm of the season in the western North Pacific, the others being Mekkhala, Higos and Bavi. There has not been a year with four or more tropical storms in this region forming before the end of March since 1965. Three of the four storms have been typhoons – only Bavi remained below the 74mph threshold (the sustained wind speed required to become a typhoon). There have never been as many typhoons before the end of March in the era of reliable records (since World War II). Maysak was also the strongest typhoon to develop in March in this region since Mitag in 2002.

Typhoon Maysak as seen from the MTSAT satellite on 1 April 2015 Image courtesy of digital-typhoon.org

Typhoon Maysak as seen from the MTSAT satellite on 1 April 2015
Image courtesy of digital-typhoon.org

Maysak has now started to weaken as it moves west-northwest towards the Philippines. However, Maysak is still likely to be a typhoon when it makes landfall this weekend. There is still some uncertainty over the exact track of the storm, but the most probable path suggests the Philippines’ northern island, Luzon, is most at risk – including the capital Manila. Wind damage and flooding are likely, particularly in coastal areas.

Typhoon Maysak on 1 April 2015. Image courtesy of the US Naval Research Laboratory

Typhoon Maysak on 1 April 2015.
Image courtesy of the US Naval Research Laboratory

The Eye of the Storm

Air sinks at the centre of a typhoon, resulting in the formation of an ‘eye’ which is sometimes free of cloud and mostly calm. However, on occasions small scale rotations can develop within the eye causing distinctive ‘mesovortices’ (small scale columns of rotating air) in the low level cloud pattern. These can be seen in this satellite loop of Typhoon Maysak created by the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin:

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/MAYSAK_H8VIS_064_31March_end0600_fast.gif

The Met Office works closely with counterparts at the Philippines weather service PAGASA, providing the latest information on computer model predictions of the likely track and intensity of Typhoon Maysak as it nears the country.

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, as well as the latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





Typhoon Hagupit threatens the Philippines

4 12 2014

The typhoon season in the western North Pacific usually peaks in September and October. However, late season typhoons are not rare and this year Typhoon Hagupit has formed in December and poses a threat to the Philippines.

Hagupit developed in the open waters of the western Pacific becoming a tropical storm on 1 December. As it strengthened into a typhoon, it passed south of the Yap Islands and north of the island of Palau. In the last day, it has intensified rapidly and Typhoon Hagupit now has winds averaged over one minute of near 180 mph.

Typhoon Hagupit seen on 4 December 2014 Image courtesy of Naval Research Laboratory

Typhoon Hagupit seen on 4 December 2014
Image courtesy of Naval Research Laboratory

With the effects of Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 still fresh in the memory there is obvious concern of a possible repeat as Hagupit moves towards the Philippines. However, unlike for Haiyan, there is much more uncertainty as to the precise track and intensity of the typhoon in the coming few days.

One possible scenario is that Hagupit continues moving westwards and makes landfall on Saturday as a strong typhoon in a similar location to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Another scenario suggests that Hagupit will slow and make a slight turn north, but still makes landfall over the Central Philippines on Sunday. Yet another scenario predicts a marked turn northwards with the eye of the typhoon staying offshore altogether.

At this stage, the latter scenario seems the least likely outcome. Thus landfall somewhere over the Central Philippines seems likely to happen at some stage during the weekend. Below is the projected track of the storm from the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Forecast track of Typhoon Hagupit from the Japan Meteorological Agency

Forecast track of Typhoon Hagupit from the Japan Meteorological Agency

As ever with tropical cyclones, there are multiple hazards associated with landfall. With winds expected to remain well above 100 mph for the time being, there is the potential for significant structural damage if Hagupit makes landfall. Storm surge was a major hazard associated with Typhoon Haiyan and depending on the precise track of the storm could be again with Typhoon Hagupit. This would threaten coastal communities with flooding to the depth of several metres. One additional hazard which needs to be considered is heavy rain. If Hagupit reduces its speed of motion it could take a long time to cross the Philippines which would increase the threat from heavy rain, flooding and landslides.

In the last couple of years the Met Office has been working with the Philippines weather service PAGASA to help improve its weather forecasting capabilities with a particular emphasis on tropical cyclones, which are a regular threat to the country. In the last few days, our meteorologists have been providing advice on the latest predictions of the track and intensity and likely impacts of Typhoon Hagupit to counterparts in PAGASA.

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.





Japan and India Braced for Tropical Cyclones

9 10 2014

Last weekend Typhoon Phanfone brought strong winds and heavy rain to many parts of Japan causing damage and disruption to travel. Japan is now preparing for another typhoon which could be just as disruptive, if not more so.

Typhoon Vongfong has been gathering strength and moving slowly across the western Pacific all week and has become the strongest tropical cyclone to have occurred anywhere in the world since the devastating Typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines last November. At its peak Vongfong was estimated to have sustained winds near 180 mph and a central pressure of 900 mb.

Forecasts for Typhoon Vongfong have been very consistent and predict that it will firstly cross some of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan at the weekend. The typhoon will then turn north-eastwards and cross Japan’s main islands at the beginning of next week starting with Kyushu in the south-west. At that time Vongfong is likely to be weaker than at present, but still expected to be a typhoon bringing strong winds and heavy rain and likely to cause disruption.

Typhoon Vongfong seen on 8 October 2014

Typhoon Vongfong seen on 8 October 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, in the Bay of Bengal Tropical Storm Hudhud has formed and threatens India at the weekend. Exactly a year ago intense Cyclone Phailin formed in a similar location and took a similar track that Tropical Storm Hudhud is expected to take. Hudhud (an Omani name for a type of bird) is expected to make landfall on the Indian coast early on Sunday and bring stormy conditions to both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states. By that time it is expected to have developed into a fully blown ‘cyclone’ – equivalent to a typhoon or hurricane.

Tropical Storm Hudhud seen on 9 October 2014 Image courtesy of the India Meteorological Department

Tropical Storm Hudhud seen on 9 October 2014
Image courtesy of the India Meteorological Department

 

Official warnings of west Pacific tropical storms are produced by the Japan Meteological Agency and north Indian Ocean warnings are produced by the India Meteorological Department. 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.





Typhoon Phanfone heading for Japan

3 10 2014

October is usually one of the most active months for tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific. These storms can affect many countries with Pacific coasts including the Philippines, China, Korea and Japan. In 2013 there were eight tropical cyclones in this region in October, most of which developed into strong typhoons.

In recent days Typhoon Phanfone has been developing in the western Pacific. Although initially far from land it has been taking a north-westward track as it has intensified and poses a threat for Japan at the weekend. On 2nd October winds were estimated at over 130 mph near the very small ‘pinhole’ eye seen in the satellite image. Phanfone has been maintaining strength since then, but the main threat comes from rain as the typhoon moves further north.

Typhoon Phanfone seen on 2 october 2014 Image courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey

Typhoon Phanfone seen on 2 october 2014
Image courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey

Typhoon Phanfone poses a threat to the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday at Suzuka, although there is still some uncertainty as to the timing of impacts over Japan. The eye of the typhoon may come ashore or pass just offshore some hours after the scheduled completion of the race.
However, typhoons in this region are renowned for producing large plumes of heavy rain which can propagate well to the north and east of the centre of the typhoon itself. Hence, heavy rain over southern Japan is likely even if the eye keeps offshore.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Simon has formed in the eastern North Pacific and may pose a threat to the Baja Peninsula of Mexico in a few days time. It has been a very active hurricane season in this region. Only one more storm is required for the region to have produced the largest number of storms for 22 years.

Official warnings of west Pacific tropical storms are produced by the Japan Meteorological Agency and east Pacific warnings are produced by the US National Hurricane Center. 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.





Typhoon Neoguri heading for Japan

8 07 2014

Typhoon Neoguri formed in the western Pacific several days ago and has its sights set on Japan in the next few days.

Peaks winds were estimated to be near 155 mph yesterday as the typhoon approached the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. Despite the eye of the typhoon passing south of Okinawa Island, wind gusts up to 99 mph were recorded and over 100 mm rain fell in just a few hours.

Typhoon-Neoguri

Courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory

Neoguri is set to turn north-eastwards today and make landfall over the larger islands of Japan, starting with Kyushu, on Thursday. Whilst wind speeds would have reduced by then, the main threat is from heavy rain. In 2013 Typhoon Wipha dropped over 800 mm rain in 24 hours in parts of Japan causing devastating floods and landslides. It is possible that Neoguri could also produce several hundred millimetres of rain as it tracks the length of the main islands of Japan.

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.





Cyclone Evan strikes Samoa

13 12 2012

Towards the end of every year tropical storm activity moves from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere. The South Indian Ocean has already spawned three tropical storms including the unusually strong early season Cyclone Anais in October. Attention has now switched to the South Pacific Ocean and Cyclone Evan.

Evan formed near Fiji a few days ago and moved north-east as it strengthened. As it reached the equivalent of hurricane intensity (winds near 75 mph) it made landfall over Samoa close to the capital city of Apia. Although winds of this strength are not exceptional for a cyclone, first reports indicate considerable wind damage and flooding from a storm surge of 12-15 feet (3.5-4.5 m). This storm surge is of similar height to that experienced in New York City during ‘Superstorm’ Sandy in October.

Visible satellite image of Cyclone Evan on 12 December 2012

Visible satellite image of Cyclone Evan on 12 December 2012

Although Samoa lies within the cyclone belt of the South Pacific Ocean, the island nation has been relatively storm free for many years. Cyclone Heta passed close by in 2003, but the last time Samoa received direct strikes from tropical storms was in 1997 and 1998 by storms named Tui and, coincidentally, Evan.

To make matters worse, Cyclone Evan is expected to become slow moving near Samoa and American Samoa, producing large amounts of rainfall, before turning back south-west. Latest forecasts suggest Evan will strengthen some more and could threaten a strike on Fiji early next week.

Regional warnings for Cyclone Evan are produced by the Fiji Meteorological Service. 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.

You can keep up to date with tropical cyclones around the world on our website or follow us on Twitter.





Typhoon Bopha on course for southern Philippines

3 12 2012

Typhoon Bopha is set to bring strong winds and heavy rain to the island of Mindanao and other parts of the southern Philippines during Tuesday. Almost a year ago Tropical Storm Washi caused devastation in this region with the loss of over 1200 lives. Typhoon Bopha is far stronger and likely to make landfall in the same place at around midnight UK time.

Typhoon Bopha has already had an impact on the island republic of Palau causing a loss of power, wind damage and flooding, although the eye of the typhoon passed south of the main island sparing it from the worst effects. After a short period of weakening, Bopha has restrengthened to the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane and is likely to produce winds up to 150 mph and heavy rain as it makes landfall in the Philippines causing structural damage, flooding and landslides. Relief agencies are watching the situation closely, ready to respond to the unfolding situation.

Typhoon Bopha is one of the lowest latitude storms for many years. Tropical cyclones rarely form closer than about five degrees of latitude (500 km) from the equator. This is because the coriolis effect, which causes storms to spin, is not strong. However, Typhoon Bopha became a typhoon at just 3.8 degrees from the equator. This makes Bopha the lowest latitude typhoon since Typhoon Vamei in 2001. Bopha continued strengthening and went on to attain what some agencies refer to as ‘super typhoon’ status (1-minute mean winds near 150 mph). This occurred at 6.1 degrees from the equator – just 0.1 degree shy of the record set by Super Typhoon Kate in 1970.

Satellite image showing Typhoon Bopha 3rd December 2012

Satellite image showing Typhoon Bopha 30th November 2012

Regional warnings for Typhoon Bopha are produced by the Japanese Meteological Agency (JMA) and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of typhoon 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.

You can keep up to date with tropical cyclones around the world on our website or follow us on Twitter.








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