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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Quoting allancalderini:
Good afternoon wunderground community.

Afternoon, Allan. Was reading about the dengue fever outbreak in Honduras. I hope you, your family, and friends are doing OK. Nasty disease. Anyway, how's your weather? Still hot and humid here.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16066
735. Siker
Quoting 722. SuperStorm093:
that is what I thought we were talking about. Anyways, when the season is over, we will see who is right, but we have 11 weeks, so were going to have to start this week, having a hurricane every week or so and a major every 2-3 weeks all starting now, which is unlikely. So my numbers will most likely be more right than everyone. Have me on the ignore list all you want, you guys just cant handle someone who doesnt go with the crowd.

Sheesh, somebody's cranky. Everyone was pretty clearly referring to the other guy when they were talking about ignoring, not you.
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Quoting 722. SuperStorm093:
that is what I thought we were talking about. Anyways, when the season is over, we will see who is right, but we have 11 weeks, so were going to have to start this week, having a hurricane every week or so and a major every 2-3 weeks all starting now, which is unlikely. So my numbers will most likely be more right than everyone. Have me on the ignore list all you want, you guys just cant handle someone who doesnt go with the crowd.

You've yet to give any real evidence why this season will be a bust.
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18z GFS 12 hrs.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8429
Quoting 728. marcuskyle:
people are saying next week things will get wild, and i bet if i come back next week they will be saying the folowing week things will get going,, heard that every week for months now


I know, right?
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Which is why the world is going downhill, anyone who has a different outlook and doesn't follow the crowd just gets ignored. Everyone who calls for an above average with no backing, gets love on here, anyone who calls for below average with no backing, gets ignored and hated.
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Quoting 724. sar2401:

Both years, actually. May happen again this year...or maybe not. There's a big meteor shower over the next week, the Persieds. Should be about 100 meteors an hour. One might hit my house. I worry about that as much as I do long range tropical models. :-)
I thought it was this week,will you see them Sar?because right now where I am is cloudy.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4401
Quoting 702. Tropicsweatherpr:
From New Orleans AFD this afternoon.


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.


Hurricane Camille are you talking to me!!!!!!
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Just picked up my freshly detailed car. And what is it going to do all week here in central NC? Rain. Figures.
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Quoting LargoFl:

See that moisture plume back to the Yucatan on that run, Largo? If the low is going to happen, that's going to be the source.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16066
Good afternoon wunderground community.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4401
Quoting mitchelace5:


If I remember correctly, I think we had a lot of fish storms last year, or in 2011

Both years, actually. May happen again this year...or maybe not. There's a big meteor shower over the next week, the Persieds. Should be about 100 meteors an hour. One might hit my house. I worry about that as much as I do long range tropical models. :-)
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16066
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39198
Quoting 712. Hurricanes101:
Quoting 709. SuperStorm093

but that was not your original rebuttal, you said only 2 storms made landfall. You said nothing about the US
that is what I thought we were talking about. Anyways, when the season is over, we will see who is right, but we have 11 weeks, so were going to have to start this week, having a hurricane every week or so and a major every 2-3 weeks all starting now, which is unlikely. So my numbers will most likely be more right than everyone. Have me on the ignore list all you want, you guys just cant handle someone who doesnt go with the crowd.
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Please don't quote the trolls as I have many added to ignore list only today alone.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14321
Quoting 713. sar2401:

Nah. If it's going to happen at all, it must be a wave out of the BOC to get it going. No front this time of year is going to make it out into the Central Gulf and form a tropical storm all by itself.
August 13, 2004. A front made it all the way into Central FL. and pulled Charley to the Northeast into SW FL.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8429
Marine Weather Discussion

Excerpt:

GFS ONLY MODEL WITH TROPICAL WAVE...CURRENTLY IN EASTERN
CARIBBEAN...ENTERING EASTERN GULF LATE FRI AND INTENSIFYING. OTHER MODEL GUIDANCE DISAGREE.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11215
Philippines may have gotten lucky.

Utor looks to have had an EWRC but rather than continuing to weaken, it started it's recovery all the way to landfall. Still weaker than it could have been but could still have been even weaker


Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
whatever it becomes, its going to be a huge rain maker..
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Quoting 699. CybrTeddy:
Really cranking up my ignore list today.


Yup especially the ones that just joined yesterday. Dead give-away. Sigh.
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Quoting LargoFl:
almost looks like it forms on the tail end of that front..........

Nah. If it's going to happen at all, it must be a wave out of the BOC to get it going. No front this time of year is going to make it out into the Central Gulf and form a tropical storm all by itself.
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Quoting 709. SuperStorm093

but that was not your original rebuttal, you said only 2 storms made landfall. You said nothing about the US
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Quoting 709. SuperStorm093:


Not saying they are, but most people on here talk about US impacts/landfalls. So they didnt affect the US as a TS.

Nobody mentioned anything about the United States.
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Quoting 707. marcuskyle:
i think we will all stil be hoping for something to happen on august 30th then lets see ho many storms we get after that... who will be the winner>?


Not you.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting 703. Hurricanes101:


I didnt realize the US was the ONLY landmass


Not saying they are, but most people on here talk about US impacts/landfalls. So they didnt affect the US as a TS.
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708. VR46L
East Atlantic in Rainbow !

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6927
Quoting MississippiWx:


It's already an an above average season. Next. Come up with something new.

He's already made my list....next. :-) Thank goodness the ignore list seems to have an unlimited capacity...or maybe I haven't hit it yet.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16066
almost looks like it forms on the tail end of that front..........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39198
Quoting 698. Hurricanes101:


I think we will see a mix of both, so there will be a few, but others will make it across


If I remember correctly, I think we had a lot of fish storms last year, or in 2011
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Quoting 700. SuperStorm093:
wow Chantal hit the US as a 50 mph storm? I did not know that.


I didnt realize the US was the ONLY landmass
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From New Orleans AFD this afternoon.


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: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14321
Quoting 685. Stormchaser121:

Most of em say MX in those ensembles.
Good luck over there I hope you get some rains for this system. We don't really need a tropical system over here in FL. as it has been wet here for awhile.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8429
Quoting 691. Hurricanes101:


I define barely as 40mph

Andrea had winds of 65mph when she made landfall, Barry had 45 and Chantal had 50

wow Chantal hit the US as a 50 mph storm? I did not know that.
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Really cranking up my ignore list today.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24177
Quoting 681. mitchelace5:


Hurricanes101

Do you think we'll have a lot of fish storms this season?


I think we will see a mix of both, so there will be a few, but others will make it across
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697. Siker
Quoting 691. Hurricanes101:


I define barely as 40mph

Andrea had winds of 65mph when she made landfall, Barry had 45 and Chantal had 50


But how do you define BRARELY?
:P
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new tropical wave going to hit water soon
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Quoting 672. weatherlover94:


It will be a fairly inactive season...however some storms will be fish storms and some storms won't

Lol. Wut? There's the best forecast I've seen yet.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting 687. weatherlover94:


I Don't think in my personal opinion that the season is going to be as bad as they are saying. Yes I do see maybe 2 major storms. Things will have to go crazy to get the number of storms they are calling for right now


It has happened a lot lately, slow starts and a hyperactive core of the season
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Quoting 688. GTstormChaserCaleb:
I see a trend in the models here, a troll everyday. :P


Just one?
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Quoting 679. SuperStorm093:
exactly they were BRARELY TS strength.


I define barely as 40mph

Andrea had winds of 65mph when she made landfall, Barry had 45 and Chantal had 50

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Quoting Tarpville:


I can believe that. Although we live back in Florida now, we moved to Northern Kentucky in 2007 after the insurance hike in Florida. During 2008, Ike paid us a visit in Northern Kentucky with trees coming down from the winds and suffering damage from Ike's winds. The Cincinnati Airport, which is ironically in Northern Kentucky, had winds gusting in excess of a 100 miles an hour. I guess it goes to show you that you cannot run from mother nature and her destruction.

Yep, Ivan was another one. Still a hurricane all the way to Montgomery, about 220 miles inland. It finally dropped to a remnant low in Virginia, with 60-90 mph winds on its entire route and I can't even begin to guess how many trees down. They found out those big billboards on the steel tubes didn't do so good either. :-) It was still producing hurricane force gusts even in Newfoundland. We used to get huge Pacific winter lows in California that produced "landcanes", with winds well over 100 mph...and that doesn't even begin talking about earthquakes, flooding, landslides, and wildfires. Unless you want to live in an abandoned missile silo in North Dakota, have everything delivered to you, and have the facilities to be completely off the grid, there's always something that get you if it's your turn to have your ticket punched.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16066
Quoting 682. marcuskyle:
what supports the mhc stating that its gonna be a active season? its all speculation and they didnt forcast conditions to be what they have been so far all season so theres no support either way.... the best they can support is within the next 24 to 48 hours with any type of weather ------> make sense ?


It's already an an above average season. Next. Come up with something new.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
I see a trend in the models here, a troll everyday. :P
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8429
Quoting 676. Hurricanes101:



define inactive, also what evidence do you have to support this?


I Don't think in my personal opinion that the season is going to be as bad as they are saying. Yes I do see maybe 2 major storms. Things will have to go crazy to get the number of storms they are calling for right now
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39198

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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.