Category 4 Super Typhoon Utor Bearing Down on the Philippines

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:52 AM GMT on August 11, 2013

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Earth's strongest and most dangerous tropical cyclone so far in 2013 is Category 4 Super Typhoon Utor, which is closing in on the northern Philippine Island of Luzon with 150 mph sustained winds. Landfall is expected at approximately 20 UTC (4 pm EDT) Sunday near Casigran. Satellite imagery shows a formidable storm with well-organized spiral bands, a prominent 15-mile diameter eye, and good (but not excellent) upper-level outflow. Ocean temperatures are very warm, about 30°C (86°F), which is approximately 0.5 - 1.0°C above average. These warm waters extend to tremendous depth, giving Utor a huge source of energy to tap into. Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots. Theoretically, the Maximum Potential Intensity (MPI) that Utor can achieve under these conditions is sustained winds of 185 mph. However, Utor will not have time to reach that strength before encountering Luzon. Utor is a very wet storm, and will likely bring a large swath of 8+ inches of rain across Luzon. These rains will cause dangerous flash flooding and mudslides. Utor will likely weaken to a Category 1 storm as it passes over Luzon, but is expected to re-intensify to a Category 2 storm before hitting China a few hundred miles south of Hong Kong about 20 UTC on Tuesday.

Utor is a Marshallese word for squall line, and has been used for three tropical cyclones in the Western Pacific--in 2001, 2006, and 2013. Typhoon Utor is called Typhoon Labuyo in the Philippines. Utor's 150 mph winds make it the strongest tropical cyclone globally so far in 2013. Earth's previous most powerful tropical cyclone of 2013 was Typhoon Soulik, which reached Category 4 strength with 145 mph winds on July 10. Soulik weakened to a Category 2 storm before hitting Taiwan on July 12.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Typhoon Utor taken at 04:30 UTC on Sunday, August 11. Image credit: NASA.

The Philippines no stranger to powerful typhoons
The Philippines lie in the most tropical cyclone-prone waters on Earth, and rarely escape a year without experiencing a devastating typhoon. Usually, these storms impact the northern Philippine island of Luzon, but last year, Earth's deadliest weather disaster of 2012 occurred on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, where Super Typhoon Bopha struck as a Category 5 super typhoon with winds of 160 mph (260 km/h), on December 3. Bopha made two additional landfalls in the Philippines, on central Visayas and on Palawan, on December 4. The typhoon left 1901 people dead, mostly on the island of Mindanao, making Bopha the 2nd deadliest typhoon in Philippine history. Bopha affected over 5.4 million people and left over 700,000 people homeless. With damages estimated at $1.7 billion, Bopha was the costliest natural disaster in Philippines history.


Figure 2. December 7, 2012: rescuers and residents look for missing victims amongst toppled tree trunks and coconut shells after flash floods caused by Super Typhoon Bopha hit Compostela Valley on Mindanao Island in the Philippines on December 3 - 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Jay Morales, Malacanang Photo Bureau, HO)

Quiet in the Atlantic
There are no tropical cyclone threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss today. Some of the models are suggesting a strong tropical disturbance capable of becoming a tropical storm could form by Saturday in the Gulf of Mexico near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, in association with a stalled cold front expected to push off the Southeast U.S. coast late this week.

Jeff Masters

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836. Gearsts
10:12 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Shear will be a problem according to the GFS.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1991
835. Sfloridacat5
10:11 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 815. ncstorm:
this will be a great day on the blog when this happens..excluding the ones who blog here regularly..



School started last week here (Lee County Fl.)
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8844
833. TylerStanfield
10:10 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 816. MississippiWx:
The GFS continues to show quite the upper level anticyclone associated with the NW Caribbean system. Upper level conditions should be quite favorable while it hovers over the warmest ocean temps and maxed out TCHP.


If it verifies, the upper air pattern overtop the system would allow for... hmmm what's the word. It starts with an H... Oh right! a Hurricane! Not to say I believe we will get one, but if this Storm that the models have all seemed to pick up on happens, there wouldn't be much there to prohibit strengthening.
Member Since: June 2, 2013 Posts: 8 Comments: 1386
832. Tropicsweatherpr
10:10 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 830. Gearsts:
Big TS


Going thru the loop current will be a big fuel.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14753
831. whitewabit (Mod)
10:10 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 827. Astrometeor:


nc...don't forget that most have the ability to blog on their phones while at school. :)

I of course don't. I usually forget about this place for 10 hours a day.


school systems in my area don't allow phones to be used during school hours on school grounds ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 366 Comments: 32078
830. Gearsts
10:08 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Big TS
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1991
828. Hurricanes305
10:07 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Here is another good reason why the major tropical prediction agencies know why season will be active and dont follow current conditions that naturally changes for the peak. Notice the cool ENSO signal showing off SA with SST increasing throughout the Atlantic thus a weak La Nina is not out of the realm of possibility.

August 8th:




July 8th:


The cool pattern over the US is similar to 2004 so where there is cool sinking air over the US rising air and convergence will have to relocate into the tropics which is the Gulf/Carribbean/SW Atlantic to be specific.



There is still slightly below average instability at the moment but once the cool air runs it course it will eventually trickle (after August 15th) down into the tropics at the right time which is the peak of Hurricane.


This is my evidence along with others that suggest an above average season. But I will gladly eat crow on everyone behalf if we see a below normal season.

Member Since: May 25, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2043
827. Astrometeor
10:07 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 815. ncstorm:
this will be a great day on the blog when this happens..excluding the ones who blog here regularly..



nc...don't forget that most have the ability to blog on their phones while at school. :)

I of course don't. I usually forget about this place for 10 hours a day.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10445
826. Patrap
10:07 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129411
825. FOREX
10:06 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 819. SuperStorm093:
Not me lol, you'll have to deal with me still.


Not me, I just put you and two others on my ignore list.
Member Since: August 17, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2335
824. TropicalAnalystwx13
10:06 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 820. nrtiwlnvragn:


LOL. My theory for when the activity in the Atlantic picks up is when the student-forecasters are back in class, trying to get a glimpse of Recon data on their smartphone between classes.

That's me.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32689
823. Gearsts
10:06 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 816. MississippiWx:
The GFS continues to show quite the upper level anticyclone associated with the NW Caribbean system. Upper level conditions should be quite favorable while it hovers over the warmest ocean temps and maxed out TCHP.

Convections looks sheared.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1991
822. LargoFl
10:06 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
THE GFS IS THE MODEL OF CHOICE THROUGH AT LEAST
THURSDAY BUT GETS INTERESTING FOR THE WEEKEND. IT IS THE ONLY
CONVENTIONAL MODEL CURRENTLY INDICATING A TROPICAL CYCLONE
POTENTIALLY DEVELOPING OVER THE YUCATAN THE MOVES INTO THE CENTRAL
GULF STATES NEXT SATURDAY. WHILE NOT TOTALLY BUYING OFF WHOLE-
HOG...TELECONNECTIONS WOULD SUGGEST A WEAKNESS IN THE FLOW WILL
CREATE A VULNERABILITY FOR THE AREA SHOULD A SURFACE LOW DEVELOP
OVER THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. THE TAFB UNIT...WHO PREPARES THE
WIND GRIDS FOR THE OUTER GULF WATERS...IS IN CONSENSUS OF AT LEAST
INDICATING A CYCLONIC CIRCULATION IN THE WIND FIELD TO SKIRT THE
OUTER COASTAL WATERS NEXT SATURDAY. WILL INDICATE LIKEWISE FOR NOW
BUT SUBSEQUENT MODEL RUNS WILL HAVE TO BE MONITORED CLOSELY.
INCIDENTLY...THAT WOULD BE THE ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF
1969...JUST SAYING.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41582
820. nrtiwlnvragn
10:05 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 815. ncstorm:
this will be a great day on the blog for some of the kids..excluding the ones who blog here regularly..



LOL. My theory for when the activity in the Atlantic picks up is when the student-forecasters are back in class, trying to get a glimpse of Recon data on their smartphone between classes.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11301
819. SuperStorm093
10:04 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 815. ncstorm:
this will be a great day on the blog for some of the kids..excluding the ones who blog here regularly..

Not me lol, you'll have to deal with me still.
Member Since: July 31, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 925
817. Camille33
10:04 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 816. MississippiWx:
The GFS continues to show quite the upper level anticyclone associated with the NW Caribbean system. Upper level conditions should be quite favorable while it hovers over the warmest ocean temps and maxed out TCHP.


Yes finally someone listen to me!!!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1523
816. MississippiWx
10:03 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
The GFS continues to show quite the upper level anticyclone associated with the NW Caribbean system. Upper level conditions should be quite favorable while it hovers over the warmest ocean temps and maxed out TCHP.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
815. ncstorm
10:03 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
this will be a great day on the blog when this happens..excluding the ones who blog here regularly..

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16208
814. Gearsts
10:02 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 792. SuperStorm093:
I am a troll cause I was asking for reasons its going to be active....man I must be crazy.
Open the blog, scroll up... You see all those letters? read them.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1991
813. sar2401
10:02 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting SuperStorm093:
I am a troll cause I was asking for reasons its going to be active....man I must be crazy.

Look, here's the deal. None of us know what the season will be like. The NHC, FSU, CSU, and several other agencies and companies that make forecasts believe, based on their best evidence, that this will be an above average season. There is no other evidence that anyone can give you that this will be an above average season. It may turn out to be a below average season, but you don't know that either. I don't think you're a troll for saying you believe it will be a below average season. However, once you've done that, you've stated your belief and that's it. Most of the rest of us will say we believe all those agencies I mentioned have a better chance of being right than an anonymous blogger. No need to get into a huff about this kind of thing, just move on, and we'll all know what kind of season it was just about the time I sit down to a nice big turkey dinner. :-)
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812. LargoFl
10:02 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41582
811. Camille33
10:02 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 809. marcuskyle:
cant argue with these wishcasters.... come actober we will see who wins out but it better get busy in a hurry

God Bless you!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1523
810. Doppler22
10:01 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 793. TropicalAnalystwx13:
August 11, 2010:



Man, all that dry air in the Atlantic made 2010 such a bust. There's no way it could've possibly been above-average given that! And I mean, they were only on the "C" storm on this date!

Cody, your sarcasm is very well stated. :p
Member Since: February 13, 2012 Posts: 11 Comments: 3840
808. beell
9:59 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 789. Naga5000:


Just the usual 6 PM EST existential blog crisis. This too shall pass.






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806. Gearsts
9:59 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Bust
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1991
805. SuperStorm093
9:59 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Were obviously not going to have only 4 storms come September 1st though.
Member Since: July 31, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 925
804. Sfloridacat5
9:58 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
18z GFS 72 hours
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8844
803. Camille33
9:58 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 801. MississippiWx:
GFS has a 1008mb low in the NW Caribbean in 87 hours:


Going to hit gulf coast as a big storm again look at shear map!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1523
802. Gearsts
9:58 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
Quoting 793. TropicalAnalystwx13:
August 11, 2010:



Man, all that dry air in the Atlantic made 2010 such a bust. There's no way it could've possibly been above-average given that!
2010 the year of the TUTT's ,dry air and shear. But when SST's are extremely high like that year the season needs to release the energy somehow.
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801. MississippiWx
9:57 PM GMT on August 11, 2013
GFS has a 1008mb low in the NW Caribbean in 87 hours:

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting 768. SuperStorm093:
All the people calling me a troll without facts. Show me facts on why this will be an active season by far.


Did you read Dr. Master's previous blog? I mean really read it, including links?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have never been impressed by Dr. Gray's pre-season hurricane forecasts vs. actual season totals.

I remember one year when he (his team) was complete wrong. We had a record season and he(his team) said it was going to be a below average season.



Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8844
Quoting 793. TropicalAnalystwx13:
August 11, 2010:



Man, all that dry air in the Atlantic made 2010 such a bust. There's no way it could've possibly been above-average given that!

lol
Member Since: June 2, 2013 Posts: 8 Comments: 1386
The Atlantic is Ready for Peak season


Anomalies
Member Since: June 2, 2013 Posts: 8 Comments: 1386
Quoting allancalderini:
Yes sadly I can`t go to Catacamas right now,My mom is working and she wouldn`t let me travel alone.How is the weather right now in St Lucia?

That's too bad, but it's kind of dangerous to be traveling in that area at night anyway. I'm sure the skies must be almost perfectly dark though.

Since I livew in southeast Alabma, I don't have a clue about St. Lucia, but I'm sure it's lovely from my visits there. Not so nice here. 102 degrees with a dewpoint of 76 and a heat index of 118...no, not a typo, actually 118...whoops, just went to 120! Hardly a cloud in the sky and totally miserable.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16967
August 11, 2010:



Man, all that dry air in the Atlantic made 2010 such a bust. There's no way it could've possibly been above-average given that! And I mean, they were only on the "C" storm on this date!
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32689
Quoting 785. Gearsts:
He wants facts on why this season will be active... I belive that's trolling.
I am a troll cause I was asking for reasons its going to be active....man I must be crazy.
Member Since: July 31, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 925
791. beell
Quoting 718. nrtiwlnvragn:



Thaanks, nrt. Mentioned again along with the next wave in the same discussion.

VERY WEAK TROPICAL WAVE ALONG 64W MOVE W THROUGH WED WITH NO SIGNIFICANT SUSTAINED WIND OR SEA HEIGHT IMPACT...BUT SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MODERATE CONVECTION WHICH MAY BRIEFLY PRODUCE GUSTY WINDS AND ROUGH SEAS.
SECOND TROPICAL WAVE APPROACHES LEEWARD ISLANDS LATE MON...BUT MAY LOSE SOME AMPLITUDE AS RIDGE DRIFTS S FLATTENING ITS CREST AND IT ENTERS A DRY AREA IN EASTERN CARIBBEAN WED...POSSIBLY DISSIPATING OR LOSING ITS IDENTITY.

Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16918
790. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 784. allancalderini:
Slu here is some information of the outbreak we are having.LinkLink


do they understand why it goes in cycles of every 3-4 years ??
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 366 Comments: 32078
Quoting 787. CybrTeddy:
Too much drama on the blog, out for the day.


Just the usual 6 PM EST existential blog crisis. This too shall pass.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Too much drama on the blog, out for the day.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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