Category 3 Typhoon Sanba hitting Okinawa

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:00 PM GMT on September 15, 2012

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The winds are rising and heavy rain is lashing Okinawa, Japan where Category 3 Typhoon Sanba is expected to make landfall early Sunday morning local time (early this afternoon U.S. EDT.) Radar loops show that the large 35-mile diameter eye of Sanba is on a track that will bring it across the southern part of Okinawa, and heavy rains and wind gusts of 59 mph and 66 mph have been reported at Naha Airport and Kadena Air Force Base, respectively, over the past few hours. Moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots has weakened Sanba below its Category 5 peak on Friday morning, and satellite loops show that Sanba is weakening, with the cloud tops warming and the eyewall getting eroded on the west side, but Sanba should be able to maintain Category 3 strength as it crosses Okinawa today. Sanba will continue to weaken as it encounters cooler waters and higher wind shear between Okinawa and South Korea Saturday night and Sunday, and is likely to be at Category 1 strength at landfall in South Korea near 18 UTC on Sunday.


Figure 1. Radar image of Typhoon Sanba approaching Okinawa. Image credit: Japan Meteorological Agency.

Sanba: the strongest tropical cyclone of 2012
The most powerful tropical cyclone of 2012 is Typhoon Sanba. Sanba formed as a tropical depression over the western Pacific Ocean on September 10. The storm rapidly strengthened from a Category 1 to a Category 5 storm over very warm waters of 30°C (86°F) in just 24 hours beginning on September 13, and became Category 5 Super Typhoon with 175 mph winds for an 18-hour period ending at 12 UTC Friday, September 14. Sanba is Earth's only Category 5 tropical cyclone so far in 2012; the planet had two such storms in 2011, both in the Western Pacific. The previous strongest tropical cyclone of 2012 was Super Typhoon Guchol, a Category 4 storm with top winds of 150 mph east of the Philippines in June. Sanba is the strongest typhoon in the Western Pacific since October 2010, when Super Typhoon Megi's sustained winds hit 180 mph.



FIgure 2. Super Typhoon Sanba at peak strength, as seen at 04:50 UTC September 13, 2012, by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. At the time, Sanba was a Super Typhoon with sustained winds of 175 mph and gusts to 205 mph. The spectacular eye of Super Typhoon Sanba featured two counter-rotating eddies at the surface. Image credit: NASA.

Links for Sanba
Radar loop from Okinawa
Live traffic with audio and video of Typhoon Sanba approaching.is available from ustream.tv.
Current conditions from Naha Airport, Okinawa, Japan
Current conditions from Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, Japan

Atlantic tropical update
Hurricane Nadine is recurving to the northeast on a track that may bring the storm close to the Azores Islands in 4 - 5 days. Steering currents for Nadine are expected to collapse in about 5 days, and the storm will likely wander for many days in the Central Atlantic.

A tropical wave about 600 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands is moving west at 15 mph, and will spread heavy rain showers and gusty winds over the islands on Sunday. The wave is under a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear, and has only a small amount of heavy thunderstorm activity, due to a large area of dry air surrounding the system. The amount of heavy thunderstorm activity has increased some this afternoon, though. The 12Z run of the NOGAPS model predicts the wave could approach tropical depression strength by Wednesday, when it will be near the Dominican Republic. However, none of the other reliable models develop the system, and the wave doesn't have much spin at present, as seen on an 11:14 am EDT ASCAT pass.. In their 2 pm EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the wave a 20% of developing into a tropical depression by Monday afternoon. A hurricane hunter aircraft is on call for Monday afternoon to investigate the storm, just in case.

Jeff Masters

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Ya'll act like this is the worst typhoon Okinawa has ever seen.This is nothing that they can't Handel....I doubt by next month anyone on here will remember Sanba like that or mention it.
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Quoting JLPR2:
If the system continues to improve an invest designation is possible. Currently its vorticity is gaining strength meaning its spin is getting stronger. The fact that it has little model support doesn't mean it can't develop.


Sometimes the models don't pick up on these shallow systems, so I guess we will see, if something develops the NOGAPS saw it first.
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MJO slowly trying to come back?

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the ustream link doc masters posted of okinawa looks crazy right now. the noise!
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141. JLPR2
If the system continues to improve an invest designation is possible. Currently its vorticity is gaining strength meaning its spin is getting stronger. The fact that it has little model support doesn't mean it can't develop.


Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8459
Quoting Grothar:
yikes

repost..

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Sanba has veered to the right over the past few hours...placing Okinawa in the weak northwest eyewall (compared to the northeast eyewall anyways). Nonetheless, wind gusts well over hurricane force are expected.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30237
Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:
I think you are right Grothar. I hope the Mango cam holds up, I have seen it move a few times and it is looking much windier. Strangely, the main weather station is still showing sustained winds in the 40-48 mph range. I now think both eye-walls will have moved through by the time it is light enough to see well.


If you have the sound up on that cam, it is getting noisy. The wind sounds steady now.
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Nadine:

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Quoting allancalderini:
Two strikes in a year ouch.


Yep. Typhoon Bolaven hit Okinawa earlier this year.
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Quoting HuracanTaino:
Why isn't this wave consider and invest in the NHC map?
Doesn't have the model support except for the NOGAPS.
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Quoting Civicane49:
Okinawa is facing the brunt of Typhoon Sanba.

Two strikes in a year ouch.
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I think you are right Grothar. I hope the Mango cam holds up, I have seen it move a few times and it is looking much windier. Strangely, the main weather station is still showing sustained winds in the 40-48 mph range. I now think both eye-walls will have moved through by the time it is light enough to see well.
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Okinawa is facing the brunt of Typhoon Sanba.

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Quoting HuracanTaino:
Why isn't this wave consider and invest in the NHC map?

While there is no set criteria for the designation of an invest, the National Hurricane Center typically waits until it has a discernible low-level circulation and is given a Medium chance for tropical development in the Tropical Weather Outlook. If organization continues to improve, I'd suspect an invest designation tonight. Otherwise, it will remain just a wave.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30237
Looking at the radar, it almost seems as if the eyewall has become more intense and wrapped itself around the center quite a bit better in the past several hours.
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Quoting wxwonder1:
Looks like improving upper divergence over the wave east of the Antilles:





Why isn't this wave consider and invest in the NHC map?
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126.
Quoting Grothar:
Good grief.
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FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
334 PM AST SAT SEP 15 2012

PRC013-039-054-065-073-141-152230-
/O.NEW.TJSJ.FA.Y.0336.120915T1934Z-120915T2230Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
CIALES PR-FLORIDA PR-HATILLO PR-JAYUYA PR-UTUADO PR-ARECIBO PR-
334 PM AST SAT SEP 15 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN JUAN HAS ISSUED AN

* URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOOD ADVISORY
FOR THE FOLLOWING MUNICIPALITIES...

IN PUERTO RICO
CIALES...FLORIDA...HATILLO...JAYUYA...UTUADO AND ARECIBO

* UNTIL 630 PM AST

* AT 332 PM AST...DOPPLER RADAR ESTIMATED VERY HEAVY RAIN IN THE
ADVISORY AREA. RAINFALL OF ONE INCH OR MORE IN 30 MINUTES CAN BE
EXPECTED ANYWHERE WITH THE ADVISORY AREA FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS
AFTERNOON.

MOST FLOOD DEATHS OCCUR IN AUTOMOBILES. NEVER DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO
AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. FLOOD WATERS ARE USUALLY
DEEPER THAN THEY APPEAR. JUST ONE FOOT OF FLOWING WATER IS POWERFUL
ENOUGH TO SWEEP VEHICLES OFF THE ROAD. WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED
ROADS MAKE THE SMART CHOICE...TURN AROUND...DONT DROWN.

&&

LAT...LON 1842 6681 1839 6657 1824 6660 1825 6683

$$
GV
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After a closer look, most of those vehicles look like police vehicles. Many of them are going in circles and they have lights on top of them. Looks like they are clearing traffic.
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Looks like improving upper divergence over the wave east of the Antilles:





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looks like its getting nasty out there in okinawa. u can refresh it to look at new images
Member Since: July 25, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2473
FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
319 PM AST SAT SEP 15 2012

PRC047-101-105-135-143-145-152215-
/O.NEW.TJSJ.FA.Y.0335.120915T1919Z-120915T2215Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
COROZAL PR-MOROVIS PR-NARANJITO PR-VEGA ALTA PR-VEGA BAJA PR-
TOA ALTA PR-
319 PM AST SAT SEP 15 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN JUAN HAS ISSUED AN

* URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOOD ADVISORY
FOR THE FOLLOWING MUNICIPALITIES...

IN PUERTO RICO
COROZAL...MOROVIS...NARANJITO...VEGA ALTA...VEGA BAJA AND TOA
ALTA

* UNTIL 615 PM AST

* AT 318 PM AST...DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS
WITH VERY HEAVY RAIN OVER COROZAL AND NARANJITO MOVING SLOWLY TO THE
NORTHWEST AROUND 5 MPH. RAINFALL RATES GREATER THAN ONE INCH PER
HOUR HAVE BEEN OBSERVED WITH THESE SHOWERS. THIS COULD BE ENOUGH TO
CAUSE FLOODING OF POOR DRAINAGE AND LOW LYING AREAS AS WELL AS SHARP
RISES IN AREA STREAMS.

MOST FLOOD DEATHS OCCUR IN AUTOMOBILES. NEVER DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO
AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. FLOOD WATERS ARE USUALLY
DEEPER THAN THEY APPEAR. JUST ONE FOOT OF FLOWING WATER IS POWERFUL
ENOUGH TO SWEEP VEHICLES OFF THE ROAD. WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED
ROADS MAKE THE SMART CHOICE...TURN AROUND...DONT DROWN.

&&

LAT...LON 1848 6631 1839 6630 1838 6626 1840 6624
1839 6620 1828 6620 1825 6623 1824 6634
1828 6639 1826 6646 1836 6647 1838 6644
1849 6643 1850 6639

$$

ROSA
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Quoting Unfriendly:
found this too:

http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_18518.html

kind of dumb to be driving around.


Thanks for the link. Interesting. Would have guessed the mini van with the higher profile would take less wind speed than the sedan.
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im out for today... going to take a nappy then gonna whatch the LSU game

Geaux Tigers

stay safe everyone

turn round dont drown
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Have you looked at the shear maps...


I was referring to her track, not her strength.

The wink at the end of my sentence was your clue I was making a joke. :)
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Live webcams from okinawaLink
Member Since: July 25, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2473
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
What I want to know is what is causing this lack of vertical instability? Is it the drought conditions over the Central Plains?


There's been speculation that the drought is causing it. 1934 and 1936 were the worst and fourth worst US droughts on record. 2012 is the fifth worst.

These three years have the most storms before a major happened.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2404
Mango Cam, http://www.mangohouse.jp/livecam.html

Palm trees are really starting to bend and whip in the wind now. A few cars still driving down the road.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
192 hrs.



216 hrs.



Whatever forms gets absorbed by the front.


and i just posted these
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Biggest reason why this probably won't develop, vertical instability in the Caribbean is very unimpressive. This is why Isaac didn't intensify and that was a fully formed TS when it reached the Caribbean.

I'll get a 30% based on present organization, but not much more.



Been saying it all season. It probably was the reason why so many of last season's storms didn't intensify as expected.

Lack of vertical instability seems to be the 'Cinderella sister' of factors inhibiting intensification. Shear, dry air, trade winds, land interaction are frequently acknowledged, but lack of vertical instabilty rarely gets a mention.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2404
Quoting GTcooliebai:
192 hrs.



216 hrs.



Whatever forms gets absorbed by the front.


cutt off low i think.
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found this too:

http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_18518.html

kind of dumb to be driving around.
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Quoting weatherh98:


not so sure if thats even tropical. that euro run was so wacked out

here look 192, no center, closed isobar, or anything anywhere. the only funny thing is look south of the azores


216 i think its a cut off low




If you were referring to the CATL wave going into the Gulf, it isn't tropical, that why I mentioned it was absorbed along a trough
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192 hrs.



216 hrs.



Whatever forms gets absorbed by the front.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Lol.So Nadine splits in half?.Lol.



thats what i think its saying however it drops it south shortly adter


just an all around weird run
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106. auburn (Mod)
Quoting eyeofbetsy:

Saw people waking down the street on the Mango cam. Maybe since they're on the west side of the island they feel safe. Hope electricity stays on past daylight so we can watch the cams.


Got a link?
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Saw people waking down the street on the Mango cam. Maybe since they're on the west side of the island they feel safe. Hope electricity stays on past daylight so we can watch the cams.
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Quoting Grothar:
Sanba took a definite jog to the NE. There is a very large US military base right where the eye is going.



very unfortunate situation
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Quoting weatherh98:


not so sure if thats even tropical. that euro run was so wacked out

here look 192, no center, closed isobar, or anything anywhere. the only funny thing is look south of the azores


216 i think its a cut off low




Lol.So Nadine splits in half?.
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Quoting weatherman410:


If you watch the live stream from Okinawa there are cars driving around as though nothing is going on.


Yes, I noticed that! I think on some of these Pacific Islands (Okinawa, Guam, Taiwan, etc.) cyclones hit so frequently that the residents are unfazed. I would bet you the road will start to clear out as the eye-wall begins to bring in 70-120 mph sustained winds. We shall see shortly. I hope nobody gets hurt.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
12z Euro takes the CATL wave through the Gulf before it is absorbed along a trough and taken across the Gulf coast.

216hrs



not so sure if thats even tropical. that euro run was so wacked out

here look 192, no center, closed isobar, or anything anywhere. the only funny thing is look south of the azores


216 i think its a cut off low




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SPECI RODN 151903Z AUTO 03044G57KT 3SM R05/3500V4500FT +RA BR BKN010 OVC018 26/26 A2874 RMK AO2 PK WND 04055/1857 VIS 2 RWY23 PRESFR SLP731

I'd expect some hurricane force gusts reported within an hour as that eyewall moves in.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7290
.
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Quoting Unfriendly:
why are people still driving around with a cat 3 (or maybe 4) 2 hours from landfall? Just saw a line of 6 cars go past the live cam.
Must be stormchasers.
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Sanba took a definite jog to the NE. There is a very large US military base right where the eye is going.

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Anybody think those trees will snap on this webcam?

Link

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I'll name an example of a year that had a major hurricane in October in the Caribbean with very low vertical instability - Major Hurricane Rina last year.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.