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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More spin today off the coast of Panama.
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4734
Quoting 1579. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Good catch! Now waiting on the tropical wave to catch up to it which should only take a day or two and help lift it northwards in tandem with the upward motion of the MJO and the active monsoon trough. :)
The biggest problem for it right now is the high shear to the north. If that decreases we may get more than we bargained for.
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i wonder if shear is an issue in GOM this weekend.
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1581. FOREX
Quoting 1575. StormTrackerScott:


Yup!


That area has been quite active for a week now.
A week ago the storms in that area were moving West into the E PAC. Guess we will see.
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Good Morning. Still having a little bit of difficulty understanding the new NHC outlooks. Several last week had the no formation expected for "5" days at the top and now this one is back to the 48 hours with the 5 day disclaimer at the bottom.

I think that what is happening is that if there is no potential for five days, then they state that; vs. if there is potential beyond 48 hours (within the 5 day timeframe), then they mention it as discussed.

Seems to me that the only time we will see a true 5 day outlook is at the beginning of the season, during lull periods, and again at the end of the season when there are no storms are on the horizon.

Almost begs the question as to what is the point when you can just as easily keep the 48?
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Quoting 1570. stormwatcherCI:
Good catch! Now waiting on the tropical wave to catch up to it which should only take a day or two and help lift it northwards in tandem with the upward motion of the MJO and the active monsoon trough. :)
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 9 Comments: 6676
Quoting 1573. StormTrackerScott:


Much further east than what the models seem to think.
I noticed that but if you look at the FIM posted by Caleb it looks about right for where they show it going.
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1577. MahFL
The blob has only 5kts of shear over it.
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Quoting 1574. FOREX:


Are you looking at the blob coming off of South America that is gaining your interest?


Yup!
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1574. FOREX
Quoting 1554. StormTrackerScott:
Here we go!



Are you looking at the blob coming off of South America that is gaining your interest?
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Quoting 1570. stormwatcherCI:


Much further east than what the models seem to think.
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1572. MahFL
That big thunder storm north of Columbia sure sees to have zero shear on it......
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1571. LargoFl
Nam now see's the weakness in the trough too,by the florida panhandle...
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Quoting 1568. MahFL:


What makes you think it's spinning ?
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From Houston NWS discussion:

LASTLY THE GFS IS TRYING TO DEVELOP A TROPICAL LOW PRESSURE IN
THE NW CARIB ON THUR AND MOVES IT INTO INTO THE GULF FRI/SAT.
GIVEN UPPER LEVEL PATTERN THAT DEVELOPS OVER THE N GULF FOR THE
WEEKEND...SHOULD ANYTHING DEVELOP TROPICALLY IT WILL BE IN A
HIGHLY SHEARED ENVIRONMENT. UPPER LEVEL TROUGH WILL ALSO LIKELY
TAKE THE SYSTEM WELL EAST OF THE AREA TOWARDS FL PANHANDLE ON
SUNDAY. THIS WILL BE SOMETHING TO KEEP AN EYE ON BUT OVERALL NOT
MUCH OF A CONCERN.
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1568. MahFL
Quoting 1563. prcane4you:
Nice spin blob north of Colombia.


What makes you think it's spinning ?
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1567. LargoFl
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Some parts of Nashville picked up over 12" rain in just a few days.


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1565. MahFL
Quoting 1523. islander101010:
labuyu?


Typhoons there often have two names, one's a local name, for some reason.
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Quoting 1560. wunderweatherman123:
I hope im wrong but i really dont see any activity getting going. Euro model i dont think has shown a single TS on any of our four storms this year. by now we should have already had a hurricane and the GFS is showing absolutelty nothing by august 28th. starting to get a little worried
I think a big 2nd half of the season is in store for us, especially once the EPAC quiets down and the MJO returns by the end of the month just in time for the peak it may have a tendency to stick around in the Atlantic.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 9 Comments: 6676
Quoting 1557. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Good morning everyone...Convection with a vigorous spin can be found now emerging off of the north coast of Columbia. A wave axis that is now south of Dominican Republics. Looking at the synoptic pattern there is 2 ULL's to the north of the system if one were to get west of it and the other to the east of it that could provide ventilation of the system as it starts to lift off towards the north.



FIM-8





It appears we are in the 2-3 day time frame for development.
Nice spin blob north of Colombia.
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This is the last place that needs rain especially with all the flooding Nashville endured last week.

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1561. LargoFl
nam is now picking up something down by the yucatan..lower right hand corner..
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I hope im wrong but i really dont see any activity getting going. Euro model i dont think has shown a single TS on any of our four storms this year. by now we should have already had a hurricane and the GFS is showing absolutelty nothing by august 28th. starting to get a little worried
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Infact a tropical system coming up toward FL will likely pull this Fall Like airmass all the way down to Mobile, New Orleans, and Pensacola this weekend with lows in the mid 60's.
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Quoting 1554. StormTrackerScott:
Here we go!

Here we go to track any blobs anywhere.
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Good morning everyone...Convection with a vigorous spin can be found now emerging off of the north coast of Columbia. A wave axis that is now south of Dominican Republic. Looking at the synoptic pattern there is 2 ULL's to the north of the system if one were to get west of it and the other to the east of it that could provide ventilation of the system as it starts to lift off towards the north.



FIM-8





It appears we are in the 2-3 day time frame for development.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 9 Comments: 6676
1556. LargoFl
GFS still says a big rain event in the same place as yesterday..
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Quoting 1550. StormTrackerScott:


I can see why as I am not that impressed with these wave coming off Africa right now however things are expect to change over the next 2 weeks.
Stormtracker woke up early.Good for you theres many blobs to follow the entire day.
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Here we go!

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1553. LargoFl
my guess is GFS is sensing a weakness in the trough,if that weakness does develop,that is where we should be watching..folks better than I at this maybe will tell us if it does in fact occur...my best guess if this does develop.flooding might just be the main event with this system...add tropical rains on top of days of rain from this cold front..not a good scenario for sure.
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Is it next week yet? That is when things will get interesting.
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1551. IKE
Caribbean starting to light up......


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Quoting 1547. wunderweatherman123:
The GFS not surpsingly drops CV development. the most inconsistent inconsistent model


I can see why as I am not that impressed with these wave coming off Africa right now however things are expect to change over the next 2 weeks.
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Quoting 1530. IKE:

Uh...you left out a line NHC!!!!!!


Hi Ike. I didn't as they corrected the sentence.
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The GFS not surpsingly drops CV development. the most inconsistent inconsistent model
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Quoting 1513. IKE:
From New Orleans NWS....

HEADING INTO THE WEEKEND THE BIGGEST QUESTION IS THIS WAVE IN THE
CARIBBEAN. THE GFS MADE THE BIGGEST CHANGE OVER THE LAST 24 HRS WITH
RESPECT TO THE TROPICS WHILE THE ECMWF IS CONSISTENT WITH NOTHING REALLY
DEVELOPING. THE GFS MOVES THE TROPICAL WAVE CURRENTLY IN THE
ERN/CNTRL CARIBBEAN TO THE WEST UNTIL IT REACHES THE FAR WRN
CARIBBEAN AND THEN STARTS TO TURN IT INTO THE TROUGH IN THE GULF. BY
LATE SAT A SFC LOW OVER THE CNTRL/N-CNTRL GULF DEVELOPS AND THEN
BEGINS TO MOVE TO THE NE AND INTO THE AL/FL COAST AS A TROPICAL
SYSTEM OR POSSIBLY A HYBRID. THE GFS IS PLAUSIBLE BUT NOT BUYING WHY
SUCH A WEAK SYSTEM WOULD START TO TURN RIGHT AND RE-CURVE IN THE
GULF. TYPICALLY WEAKER SYSTEMS WITHOUT A WELL DEFINED MID LVL
STRUCTURE DONT TEND TO FOLLOW THE STEERING CURRENTS AS MUCH AND WILL
JUST KEEP MOVING WEST...WHICH IS WHAT THE ECMWF DOES. IN FACT THE
ECMWF NEVER EVEN GETS THE WAVE NORTH OF 20N LAT. IF THIS WAVE DOES
NOT DEVELOP BEFORE IT APPROACHES THE YUCATAN THEN THE ECMWF MAKES
FAR MORE SINCE AND THUS WHY WE ARE USING THE ECMWF WINDS RIGHT NOW
FOR FRI-SUN. IF THE WAVE CAN GET SOMEWHAT ORGANIZED IN THE CARIBBEAN
THEN WE WILL NEED TO CLOSELY WATCH THIS SYSTEM AND THE GFS AND
CANADIAN MAY BE RIGHT. /CAB/


It's turning NE because of a strong trough coming down. Infact only upper 70's for highs and upper 50's for lows in Nashville most of this week and that cool dry air is heading for the Gulf Coast.
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Quoting 1542. IKE:
If there are going to be....just say 18 storms in the ATL this year....it's almost to the point of needing one per week to achieve that. Yeah...I know...multiple storms at one time. I'm just saying an average.


14 actually, already have 4 of that number knocked out.
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Quoting 1521. AussieStorm:
Scenes of storm horror in 'Labuyo'-hit Aurora



Power lines were toppled, houses were destroyed and the roof of a public hospital was blown off in Casiguran town, Aurora province after typhoon Labuyo (international codename Utor) made landfall here early Monday.

Footage taken by ABS-CBN News showed scenes of devastation in the typhoon-hit town. Roads in Casiguran were rendered impassable due to toppled trees. Some of the trees fell on top of houses while concrete lampposts were also downed by the typhoon.

The municipal government said 80% of infrastructure in the town was destroyed including schools, roads and houses.

The town has become isolated from the rest of Aurora due to lack of cell phone signals. Road networks linking Casiguran to other parts of Aurora were cut off due to landslides and floods in some areas, ABS-CBN reporter Raffy Santos said.

Local officials said they are having a hard time assessing the damage due to lack of communication.

Residents admitted Typhoon Labuyo is the strongest typhoon to hit Casiguran. One fear among residents is a possible lack of food and potable water if the town remains isolated.

As of posting, there is no way to bring goods into Casiguran except via the sea route, plane or chopper.

Strong winds also tore off the roof of the local hospital, the report said. %u201CPatients are now being moved to the town hall where they will set up a makeshift hospital and treatment center until help arrives,%u201D Santos reported.

Aurora Governor Gerardo Noveras earlier said some parts of the province are currently suffering from power outages and communication problems as Labuyo's strong wind toppled several trees and electric posts.

The hardest hit towns in Aurora are Dinalungan, Dilasag and Casiguran, according to the province's civil defense office. Landslides also remain a threat to motorists and residents in the said towns.

In Dinalungan, several electric posts were toppled, leaving the town without electricity, according to Mayor Tito Tubigan.

At least 106 units in a housing project and 489 more around the town were damaged after being battered by the typhoon.

Twelve school buildings were also damaged in the town. Some 135 individuals were also evacuated to a nearby school.

The province's agriculture sector was also hit by the typhoon, but authorities have yet to make an assessment of the damage.

'Labuyo' weakens

In its 11 a.m. update, PAGASA said Labuyo weakened after interacting with the rugged terrrains of north Luzon.

Labuyo was located within the vicinity of Baguio as of 10 a.m., and was packing maximum winds of 140 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 170 kph.

The typhoon was moving west northwest at 19 kph.

At a press conference, PAGASA forecaster Jori Loiz said Labuyo may exit the Philippine landmass through La Union province on Monday afternoon if it maintains its speed and direction.

Labuyo is forecast to be 360 kms west of Sinait, Ilocos Sur or outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Tuesday morning.

Loiz explained that Labuyo was being prevented by a high pressure ridge from moving northward.

Public storm warning signal number 3 remains hoisted over Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur, Benguet, La Union and Pangasinan.

Signal number 2 remains up over Isabela, Aurora, Southern Cagayan, Kalinga, Abra, Southern Ilocos Norte, Zambales, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.

The rest of Cagayan and Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Babuyan Group of Islands, Calayan Group of Islands, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Rizal, Northern Quezon, Polillo Island and Metro Manila remain under signal no. 1.

An estimated rainfall of 7 - 15 millimeters per hour (moderate-heavy) is expected within the typhoon's 500-km diameter.

Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas under signal numbers 3, 2 and 1 are advised against possible floods and landslides.

The typhoon continues to enhance the southwest monsoon (habagat) , bringing moderate to occasionally heavy rains over Southern Luzon and Western Visayas.

Fishermen especially those using small sea crafts are advised not to venture out into the seaboards of Southern Luzon and western seaboard of Visayas due to big waves generated by the typhoon. With reports by Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News; and Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com


This is the reason why I am glad things have remained calm in the Atlantic. I pray that they remain Calm. A day without a hurricane is a good day.
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Quoting 1540. LargoFl:
Well regardless of any development,guess we can count on higher rain chances...


West coast of FL really need to watch this because there is a trough coming down and steering looks to be to the NE.

It seems as if when a model shows a Panhandle strike with a trough coming down that these systems always veer toward the FL Penisula of FL Big Bend. I would also watch for a system developing rapidly as it moves over the Loop Current.
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1542. IKE
If there are going to be....just say 18 storms in the ATL this year....it's almost to the point of needing one per week to achieve that. Yeah...I know...multiple storms at one time. I'm just saying an average.
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With this flow pattern at 500 milibars it seems likely that a track for whatever forms in the NW Caribbean would move toward the FL Big Bend (Cedar Key) area just like the track for TS Arlene back in June.


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1540. LargoFl
Well regardless of any development,guess we can count on higher rain chances...
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Good morning all, 75 here with a 74 dewpoint, 100% humidity. Air so thick I could feel it holding me back on my morning PT. 50-70% chance of rain here until Saturday, then it drops to a 30% chance, as of this moment lol. Have a great one all, peace from NOLA
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Quoting 1536. IKE:


TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK...CORRECTED
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT MON AUG 12 2013

CORRECTED FOR MISSING SENTENCE

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

OTHER SYSTEMS WITH FORMATION POTENTIAL BEYOND 48 HOURS...

A TROPICAL WAVE IS MOVING WESTWARD ACROSS THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA.
UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BECOME A LITTLE MORE CONDUCIVE
FOR THE FORMATION OF AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE NORTHWESTERN
CARIBBEAN SEA OR THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO BY MIDDLE TO LATE
WEEK. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...NEAR 0 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A LOW CHANCE...20
PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS.

&&

FIVE-DAY FORMATION PROBABILITIES ARE EXPERIMENTAL IN 2013. COMMENTS
ON THE EXPERIMENTAL FORECASTS CAN BE PROVIDED AT...

WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/SURVEY/NWS-SURVEY.PHP?CODE=ETWO

$$
FORECASTER AVILA
Wow...they were awake! I take that back.
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
Good morning, afternoon and evening, everyone, A pleasant 73 degrees with a not so pleasant 73 degree dewpoint. I might be able to swim to school today. It's day two of four where I'll spend it showing kindergartners how to jump, skip and walk a tightrope to see if they can do it, too.

Anyone see CoopsWife? Breakfast's on the sideboard:Shrimp-and-Grits Eggs Benedict with asparagus and a creamy low fat shrimp sauce, Corn Waffles With Cajun Vegetables and Shrimp, whole wheat English muffins with poached egg whites, low fat cheese, ham, tomato and sauce, Apple Pie Breakfast Cakes, Canadian bacon, cheese danishes, yogurt, fresh fruit and orange, apple or pineapple juice. Enjoy!



Did I hear some one call my name?? Cool and damp up here in Rhode Island, but we've had fantastic weather for the past week and that's my excuse for slacking off on the morning cooking!!
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1536. IKE

Quoting Waltanater:
..who cares...I doubt they are even paying attention.

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK...CORRECTED
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT MON AUG 12 2013

CORRECTED FOR MISSING SENTENCE

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

OTHER SYSTEMS WITH FORMATION POTENTIAL BEYOND 48 HOURS...

A TROPICAL WAVE IS MOVING WESTWARD ACROSS THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA.
UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BECOME A LITTLE MORE CONDUCIVE
FOR THE FORMATION OF AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE NORTHWESTERN
CARIBBEAN SEA OR THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO BY MIDDLE TO LATE
WEEK. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...NEAR 0 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A LOW CHANCE...20
PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS.

&&

FIVE-DAY FORMATION PROBABILITIES ARE EXPERIMENTAL IN 2013. COMMENTS
ON THE EXPERIMENTAL FORECASTS CAN BE PROVIDED AT...

WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/SURVEY/NWS-SURVEY.PHP?CODE=ETWO

$$
FORECASTER AVILA
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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.