Tag Archives: Typhoon UTOR

The Northwest Pacific: Typhoon Country 2013

The Pacific Ocean is so vast that it hosts three separate and distinct annual tropical cyclone seasons to the north of the equator: (1) the East Pacific Hurricane Season, (2) the Central Pacific Hurricane Season, and (3) the Northwest Pacific Typhoon Season also referred to as the West Pacific Typhoon season.

The Northwest Pacific Hurricane Season includes all tropical cyclones generated in the quadrant north of the equator between LON 100 E and the 180 Meridian and it is by far, on the basis of the historical record, the most active of all three northern hemisphere cyclogenesis basins in the Pacific Ocean.

As of Saturday 5 October 2013  a total of twenty-two tropical cyclones have been generated in the Northwest Pacific basin, including sixteen tropical storms and six typhoons, three of which have reached major typhoon strength. In addition there have been a total of eleven tropical depressions generated in the basin so far this year, which did not reach tropical storm strength. Relative to total activity year-t0-date in 2013 it should be noted that 24 tropical cyclones have tracked somewhere in the basin, which includes two storms that were generated in the Central Pacific and then drifted across the 180 Meridian into the Northwest Pacific. The image that follows summarizes all named-tropical cyclone activity in the basin so far in 2013:

View of named-tropical cyclones generated in the Northwestern Pacific basin in 2013 as of 5 October 2013 (courtesy of Google Earth)
View of named-tropical cyclones generated in the Northwestern Pacific basin in 2013 as of 5 October 2013 (courtesy of Google Earth)

Super-Typhoon USAGI has been the strongest storm of the 2013 Northwest Pacific season thus far. USAGI originated from a tropical wave in the Philippines Sea that gave way to a tropical depression on 16 September with winds of 36.8 kilometers/hours (kph) and a minimum central pressure of 1002 hPA.  This system encountered a rather favorable ocean-atmosphere environment strengthening rather quickly into a tropical storm and reaching typhoon strength approximately 24 hours later. By 19 September USAGI had reached major tropical cyclone strength (based on the Safir-Simpson Scale for  hurricane classification) with maximum sustained winds of 195 kph (121.9 mph). Less than 24 hours later, on 20 September, USAGI became a super-typhoon when its central pressure dropped to 918 hPA and its maximum sustained surface winds reached 256+ kph (160 mph) for a brief period that day. On 22 September USAGI, still a major typhoon,  made landfall near Shanwei, China near and to the northeast of Hong Kong.

Satellite image (courtesy of NASA) of 22 September 2013 showing Typhoon USAGI as it made landfall in China near Hong Kong with soon-to-reach typhoon strength PABUK in the Philippines Sea.

Satellite image (courtesy of NASA) of 22 September 2013 showing Typhoon USAGI as it made landfall in China near Hong Kong with soon-to-reach typhoon strength PABUK in the Philippines Sea.

Other major typhoons in the Northwest Pacific basins in 2013 were SOULIK , which reached maximum sustained winds of 230 kph (145 mph) and a low central pressure of 929 hPA on 10 July before continuing on toward a landfall near Yilan, Taiwan on 12 July and a second landfall near Fuzhou, China on 13 July 2013. And UTOR, which reached maximum sustained winds of 240 kph (150 mph) and minimum central pressure of 926 hPA, a rather strong category 4 storm, before making landfall in the Calguran Peninsula near Dinalungan, the Philippines, on 11 August. UTOR continues on toward the west over the South China Sea where it re-strengthened before making another landfall, this one near Hailing-Dao, China on 14 August.

Satellite image (courtesy of NASA) showing major Typhoon UTOR on 13 August 2013 after hiting the Philippines on its way to another landfall near Hailing-Dao, China still as a major storm.
Satellite image (courtesy of NASA) showing major Typhoon UTOR on 13 August 2013 after hiting the Philippines on its way to another landfall near Hailing-Dao, China still as a major storm.

Typhoon activity in the Northwest Pacific basin has increased considerably over the past two weeks, since 20 September, with a total of six-named tropical cyclones and one tropical depression generated during this short period. Four of these storms reached typhoon strength including already mentioned Super-Typhoon USAGI. This increased activity has so far produced  four instances of  two storms active in the basin at the same time USAGI and PABUK, PABUK and WUTIP, SEPAT and FITOW, and another pair that is still active on 5 October FITOW and DANAS.

Satellite image with (courtesy of NASA) of 5 October showing water vapor in the atmosphere to highlight  a pair of simultaneously active tropical cyclones, typhoon FITOW nearing the Yellow Sea, and typhoon DANAS over the Philipines Sea
Satellite image with (courtesy of NASA) of 5 October showing water vapor in the atmosphere to highlight a pair of simultaneously active tropical cyclones, typhoon FITOW nearing the Yellow Sea, and typhoon DANAS over the Philippines Sea

The Eastern Pacific Hurricane Basin, also known as Northeastern Pacific Basin, extends north of the equator from east of LON 149 W to the coastline of the Americas. The 2013 hurricane season, which in this basin runs from 15 May to November 30, has as of 5 October  generated 13-named tropical cyclones including six hurricanes and seven tropical storms. So far, no major hurricanes.

The Central Pacific Basin, ranges north of the equator from west of LON 140W to the 189 Meridian, has an annual hurricane season that runs from 1 June through November 30. The 2013 season in this basin had generated three tropical cyclones as of today, one hurricane and two tropical storms.

On a worldwide basis so far 2013 has seen seventy (70) tropical cyclones generated: 22 in the Northwest Pacific, 13 in the Northeastern Pacific, 3 in the Central Pacific, 1 in the Indian Ocean, 11 in the Atlantic Basin (North of the equator) and another 20 in the southern hemisphere basins (Southern Indian Ocean, South and Southeast Pacific). With 87 days left in the year it would appear 2013 may have a good probability of matching the historical total averaged over the past 50 years. But only Mother Nature knows for sure.

In closing, I though it would be interesting to note that 50 or 71.4% of the 70 named tropical cyclones that have been generated worldwide during 2013 so far been in the northern hemisphere. Fifteen of these 50, or 30% have reached hurricane strength, but only 3 of these, all in the Northwestern Pacific basin, or 6% have become major hurricanes (category 3 or higher in the Safir-Simpson scale). In the Atlantic basin there have been only two hurricanes, none of them major, and nine tropical storms. Certainly food for thought for those who say global warming is leading to more intense tropical cyclones.

Let us keep monitoring the tropics to see what cyclonic activity is still in store for us in the northern hemisphere basins, above all in the Atlantic Basin that may bring such activity to our shores. Always keep in mind that we must pay attention, be prepared, and above all mitigate!

The First Half is coming to an end!

Speaking in sporting terms relative to the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season it could be said that it is a couple of minutes before half time, in other words the first half of the hurricane season that matters the most to us here in Florida, or to those who live along the Gulf or Atlantic coastal USA states, is almost over. So far so good, unless you consider that the historical record shows that the most active part of the Atlantic Hurricane Season also starts about now and normally last through mid-October. So, do not broadcast the ‘all clear’ yet, rather the prudent thing to do is to pay attention, be prepared and practice mitigation!

Color-enhanced infrared GOES satellite image  during the evening hours on 13 August shows a cell of disturbed weather over the Central Caribbean
Color-enhanced infrared GOES satellite image during the evening hours on 13 August shows a cell of disturbed weather over the Central Caribbean

What is happening tropical cyclone-wise in the Atlantic basin on this Tuesday 13 of August 2013?  There is a strong tropical wave in the Central Caribbean just southwest of Jamaica that is generating quite a bit of rain throughout the region at it moves  generally westward toward the Yucatan Peninsula, which is showing some potential for cyclonic development in the next day or so as it moves into a favorable low wind-shear warm surface water ocean-atmospheric environment. All interest in the Caribbean sub-basin will do well to pay attention to this system and monitor its progress in the next 24-48 hours.

Color enhances infrared satellite image shows tropical waves moving westward over 'hurricane alley' and near the Cape Verde Islands, followed by a train of several tropical waves being generated over Equatorial Africa on 13 August 2013
Color enhances infrared satellite image shows tropical waves moving westward over ‘hurricane alley’ and near the Cape Verde Islands, followed by a train of several tropical waves being generated over Equatorial Africa on 13 August 2013

Farther to the east over hurricane alley and even farther, over the eastern Atlantic near the Cape Verde Islands there are a couple of tropical waves that may warrant monitoring over the next few days as they continue to move toward the Lesser Antilles and the Caribbean. related to this on this day we also observe a train of tropical waves moving westward over Equatorial Africa adding fuel for potential cyclonic activity as they emerge over the warm waters of the eastern Atlantic.

Color-enhanced infrared GOES satellite image on 13 August 2013 shows a few tropical waves, two of which may warrant closer monitoring, moving generally west from the eastern Pacific off the coast of central America toward Hawaii
Color-enhanced infrared GOES satellite image on 13 August 2013 shows a few tropical waves, two of which may warrant closer monitoring, moving generally west from the eastern Pacific off the coast of central America toward Hawaii

Elsewhere in the world the eastern Pacific basin has continued to maintain a high level of activity including even today, when we see a few tropical waves or cells of disturbed weather, including two that may warrant further monitoring and investigation, which are following pretty much along the same path recently traveled by tropical Storm Flossie and Hurricane Gil so all interests in the state of Hawaii will need to keep an eye on these systems now extending from the eastern Pacific toward the vicinity of our 50th state.

Visible light satellite image of 12 August 2013 as a strong category 3 Typhoon UTOR approached landfall in the Philippines
Visible light satellite image of 12 August 2013 as a strong category 3 Typhoon UTOR approached landfall in the Philippines

Today also, there is major Typhoon UTOR over the South China Sea and the extreme western Pacific heading for landfall somewhere between Hong Kong and Hanoi in the next few hours after having hit the Philippines as a category 3 tropical cyclone. Satellite imagery from 12 August, as the storm approached landfall in the Philippines, and from today when the typhoon is traversing the South China Sea, show regions of intense rain and thunderstorms impacting a rather large region.

Color-enhanced infrared satellite image of 13 August 2013 showing Typhoon UTOR over the South China Sea approaching landfall somewhere between Hanoi and Honk Kong
Color-enhanced infrared satellite image of 13 August 2013 showing Typhoon UTOR over the South China Sea approaching landfall somewhere between Hanoi and Honk Kong

Following in UTOR’s footsteps over the far northwestern Pacific Ocean, moving toward the Philippines Sea there are a couple of cells of disturbed weather that are showing some potential for further development in the next couple of days. Residents of the Philippines and other countries in that region, which has seen a steady flow of rather wet disturbed weather cells over the past ninety days or so, must remain vigilant.

This is the ‘pre half-time report’, let us be ready for whatever the second half of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season may bring us. Pay attention! Be prepared!! MITIGATE!!!