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 583. weatherlover94:


Florida sticks out like a sore thumb. lol


Yes sir
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Quoting 583. weatherlover94:


Florida sticks out like a sore thumb. lol
We always do
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Quoting 573. mitchelace5:


They would have to cross Florida first b4 going out to sea.


Florida sticks out like a sore thumb. lol
Member Since: September 8, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2033
Quoting 577. Stormchaser121:

This is getting interesting...and confusing! GFS and FIM 9 say FL but the rest of the models dont.


Most times, the GFS would drop systems, and sometimes pick them back up.
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Quoting GTstormChaserCaleb:
Sorry about that here we go at 10 meters above the surface, still a moderate tropical storm.


Caleb, what is the FIM-9 showing as the source of that low? Are they sticking with the cold front or a wave off the Yucatan?
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 12796
Quoting 568. SuperStorm093:
Yeah people keep doing the 850 MB winds which are meaningless just to show a worse system.
!!
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Quoting 576. Socalmargie:
im in the south east near savanah
Savannah area is very cool...I know that area well...What city?
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Kingston Jamaica Weather Station

2013.08.11 2000 UTC

Wind from the SSE (150 degrees) at 18 MPH (16 KT)

Visibility greater than 7 mile(s)

Sky conditions mostly cloudy
Weather Cumulonimbus clouds observed

Temperature 87 F (31 C)
Heat index 97.5 F (36.4 C)
Dew Point 77 F (25 C)
Relative Humidity 70%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.88 in. Hg (1012 hPa)
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Quoting 558. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Sorry about that here we go at 10 meters above the surface, still a moderate tropical storm.


This is getting interesting...and confusing! GFS and FIM 9 say FL but the rest of the models dont.
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Quoting 562. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Yes, got those too and the hard stuff.
You are all set
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11W OVERLAND CYCLONE UTOR
WEAKENING FLAG FLAG
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
Quoting 570. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Except it is impossible to steer one OTS when they form in the GOM. :P


They would have to cross Florida first b4 going out to sea.
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Quoting LargoFl:

So it's not going to rain hardly anywhere else in the United States between now and next Saturday? Even if we get that big low, I'm only going to get a lousy 1.5 inches of rain? These GFS precipitation estimates are always confused.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 12796
Quoting 567. Socalmargie:
wwell im hoping we get them
Socal, Where in Georgia?
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Quoting 560. weatherlover94:


Hes right. The cold fronts tend to steer them out to sea
Except it is impossible to steer one OTS when they form in the GOM or Caribbean. :P
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 11 Comments: 7367
In 1989 I wasn't born yet but my parents said Hurricane Hugo by time it got to where I live in WV it still had winds of 70 mph and we where on the right side and they said it flipped some of the air planes over at the Bluefield Airport. Isabel in 2003 produced some high winds here.
Member Since: September 8, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2033
Yeah people keep doing the 850 MB winds which are meaningless just to show a worse system.
Member Since: July 31, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 925
Eastern Atlantic
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East is cool, we here would have N winds for the Raiders game in da Dome Friday night.

; ]
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Quoting 557. LAbonbon:


Yeah, that's what I found as well, but figured you, w/ being able to look at the trees and leaves would be much better suited to figure it out than any of us. Do you know if your state has an extension service that could help ID or confirm the problem?


I don't know, honestly.

I'm busy for the next few days, so I'm not going to be able to do anything anyway. I'll try to get someone else to deal with it.

Try the feed store first, and if they don't know, I'll contact SLU or LSU. Someone there will know.
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Hm!!!!
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Quoting 554. PalmBeachWeather:
Spam, & Bud Light??
Yes, got those too and the hard stuff.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 11 Comments: 7367
Quoting Socalmargie:
I heard the same thing that a big cold feont is comming down sometime next week on monday or ruesday and push off the south east coast.. ccant wait for cooler weather

It would be nice but don't hold your breath. North Georgia and north Alabama will probably get a little cooling but I don't think this front is going much further than the central parts of both states. The timing on this front and where it's ultimately going is all over the place. Anything that's 7-10 days out is pretty suspect until we start seeing some signs of an actual trough, which doesn't even exist now.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 12796
Quoting 549. Socalmargie:
my uncle just said to me that if we keep getting fronts comming down each week that will be our barcade against hurricanes


Hes right. The cold fronts tend to steer them out to sea
Member Since: September 8, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2033
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Quoting 550. Camille33:

This is the darn 850 mb wind !!!!!! This is not the surface!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry about that here we go at 10 meters above the surface, still a moderate tropical storm.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 11 Comments: 7367
Quoting 542. RTSplayer:


I googled it earlier, right after the post, and went and looked again.

It meets the description of the "Anthracnose" fungus. Apparently it's too small to see the fungus itself, but when I look closely at the leaves, the damage starts as tiny brown dots and radiates outward. I'm assuming, after seeing the description, that the entire life cycle of the anthracnose fungus is microscopic, so not directly visible to the naked eye.

There's obviously no insects eating the leaves, I checked for that, and the other fungi don't meet the description.


Yeah, that's what I found as well, but figured you, w/ being able to look at the trees and leaves would be much better suited to figure it out than any of us. Do you know if your state has an extension service that could help ID or confirm the problem?
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Quoting 550. Camille33:

This is the darn 850 mb wind !!!!!! This is not the surface!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post surface wind it looks much less exaggerated!! People are pointlessly being spooked by that image!!
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Quoting 544. GTstormChaserCaleb:
I have the plywood, flashlights, candles, gas lamp, plenty of water, and canned foods.
Spam, & Bud Light??
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Quoting 499. GTstormChaserCaleb:
12z NAM wind gusts:



Got to give the NAM some credit if a storm does get going in the Caribbean. The NAM was predicting a Caribbean system before the GFS jumped on board.

But I'm still not sold on the north trend by the GFS. We'll have to wait until the next runs to see some consistancy.

But we will definately be seeing something in about 5-7 days. We just don't know how strong or exactly where its going to go.
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Quoting 544. GTstormChaserCaleb:
I have the plywood, flashlights, candles, gas lamp, plenty of water, and canned foods.
see your about ready as can be..far more than a lot of others I bet...well anyway this doesn't look like its a central florida hit so far..
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Quoting 529. GTstormChaserCaleb:
12z FIM-9 156 hrs.


This is the darn 850 mb wind !!!!!! This is not the surface!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting 543. Socalmargie:
I heard the same thing that a big cold feont is comming down sometime next week on monday or ruesday and push off the south east coast.. ccant wait for cooler weather
Is that a new day added to the Gregorian Calendar that I wasn't informed about? :P
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 11 Comments: 7367
Quoting GTstormChaserCaleb:
12z FIM-9 156 hrs.


At least the FIM-9 has the low still off the coast on Sunday. I sometimes wonder how much model input is picked up from other models. It's always amazing how one model will show something and then other models start to jump on board. This has happened a number of times this season and all the models were wrong at once.
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Quoting 520. Socalmargie:
what or who is sal??
Saharan Air Layer Socal
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Quoting 538. unknowncomic:
Good size area of low shear near the a
Antilles in 180hrs.



There's strong shear across the Caribbean currently.

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/feature?section=weath er/hurricane&id=8760068
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Quoting 527. LargoFl:
don't feel too bad many others around the gulf aren't either..they wait til the night before,then we read about them a week later in the newspapers...right about now a hurricane survival kits should have been made already and a stay or go plan should be ready also..what will you do IF...that's the one im not ready for..a wait and see how strong it is etc...but as far as the house is concerned..im ready..plywood all cut, provisions bought already etc
I have the plywood, flashlights, candles, gas lamp, plenty of water, and canned foods.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 11 Comments: 7367
Quoting 504. LAbonbon:


I'd just google it. I did ('sycamore brown leaves') and got several legitimate sites (universities w/ agriculture & forestry extensions). They're likely to have contact info as well. Or, you could contact a similar extension service in your state.


I googled it earlier, right after the post, and went and looked again.

It meets the description of the "Anthracnose" fungus. Apparently it's too small to see the fungus itself, but when I look closely at the leaves, the damage starts as tiny brown dots and radiates outward. I'm assuming, after seeing the description, that the entire life cycle of the anthracnose fungus is microscopic, so not directly visible to the naked eye.

There's obviously no insects eating the leaves, I checked for that, and the other fungi don't meet the description.
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.
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12z GFS Ensembles spread takes it into texas..also its hinting at a system tracking across the atlantic..







Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14250
Quoting 538. unknowncomic:
Good size area of low shear near the a
Antilles in 180hrs.

That bag sure has to be super hot today
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Good size area of low shear near the a
Antilles in 180hrs.

Member Since: August 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1751
Quoting 510. Patrap:
UTOR



And we have impact....wow....they are getting hammered...
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:




Another GFS hurricane headed right for my house. Between the GFS and CMC, I should have nothing left standing. :-) This was the model discussed with the local mets last night. They have near zero belief this is going to happen, because it's dependent on this incredibly strong cold front getting into the Gulf by Thursday, spinning up a low, and have it head back into Alabama by Saturday. First, the timing is way off, since the front, even if it makes it, wouldn't be in the Gulf before Friday. If it was actually capable of being a focus for a tropical low, there's no way for it to form and move back north before Sunday. Lastly, this front would have to be about a zillion standard deviations from normal to have this kind of energy in August. I don't think it's going to happen at all but, if it does, it would be a Monday through Wednesday time frame. If the front come through here and the temperature drops to about 60 Friday night, I'll start getting out the plywood. Otherwise, I just hope we at least get a decent rain from this front.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 12796

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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.