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Early Typhoon Maysak poses threat to the Philippines, Caroline Islands

Posted by [email protected] on March 28, 2015 at 9:15 AM

An uncommon occurrence has happened over the Northwestern Pacific: A strong typhoon approaching the Central Philippines in April. This early in the season tends to have less tropical activity, and if ever there is, then it turns out to be weak. There are some occurences of these storms, notably a long runner Super Typhoon Kujira (Amang) in May 2003 which impacted the Federated States of Micronesia and eastern seaboards of Luzon. Last year, tropical storm Peipah, known in the Philippines as Domeng, was unable to intensify due to unfavorable conditions, mostly from the high vertical wind shear.

Severe Tropical Storm Maysak is currently located about 200 km east of Chuuk. It is packing 10-minute maximum sustained winds of 100 km/h (55 knots) with gusts of up to 150 km/h (80 knots), with an atmospheric pressure of 985 hPa. Maysak is moving at a forward speed of 15 km/h (8 knots), westward. 

Infrared image from NOAA-SSD

The thing about Maysak that I am struck of is that it was able to intensify, and is forecast by both the JMA and JTWC to be a strong cat 3-4 typhoon (JMA thru Koba scale) as it is aided by anomalously above normal SSTs (sea surface temperatures) and low vertical wind shear. Storms like these generally occur during El Niño years, which means it is not unusual for Maysak because there is currently a weak El Niño occuring. Maysak is currently under the influence of a subtropical ridge which would enforce a westerly movement.

Watches and warnings have now been issued by the National Weather Service. For more details, please see the home page.

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