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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We are starting to see some "consensus" downstream so best to check in every 12 here.

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335. IKE

Quoting ncstorm:


I guess your storm whispering skills are a little rusty? :)
Yeah....

I see the latest CMC points it toward the western GOM.......


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Quoting 328. Patrap:
The Eye is now crossing the Coast..





Landfall has occured
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Landfall!
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Quoting 326. IKE:
So much for the GFS not showing anything.....




I guess your storm whispering skills are a little rusty? :)
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
Quoting 324. LargoFl:
that's welcomed news I know you folks there really need the rains.


It would be nice if this did form but isn't too strong. Just brings some much needed rain to Texas
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weather in a word...HOT....
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Quoting 322. NCHurricane2009:
Just did a new blog post....summarized the potential for tropical cyclogensis in the NW Caribbean/Gulf area. Look for possible cyclogenesis beginning 5 days from now...I see quiet a few models jumping aboard with some sort of solution which tells me their is a high risk here...

I was expecting the cyclogenesis to be associated with the tropical wave currently mid-ocean (seems reasonable that the t-wave will be in the W Carib region by 5 days out based on typical west speed of t-waves). But Dr. M's statement seems to indicate it being associated with a cold front to dive south associated with eastern US upper trough. Maybe it'll turn out to be a combination of the forecast front and t-wave agitating the weather...

I choose C, none of the above.

GFS 700mb heights
CMC 700mb heights

Continues to look like the [insert "tropical" here?] wave in the eastern Caribbean.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32039
The Eye is now crossing the Coast..


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Quoting 320. PensacolaDoug:
12Z GFS needs to point that thing elsewhere.


Yeah, sitting here in LA, the only one track that looks less threatening (to me) is the CMC...the rest look like they're spread from Pensacola to Beaumont.
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326. IKE
So much for the GFS not showing anything.....


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The Worst Place for a Powerful Typhoon to Hit, a populated low lying Country.


UTOR,

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Quoting 306. dis1322:
Getting some good rainfall here in south Texas!!
that's welcomed news I know you folks there really need the rains.
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Quoting 321. scottsvb:


That is funny, more than 1/2 the people on here don't have a picture of themselves, it's of the ocean, a storm, landmark, sky...whatever. I don't have a picture cause I just don't care to post 1. Trolls are people who come on here and make wild predictions or guesses that usually think will impact themselves. Just cause someone doesn't have a picture, doesn't mean they are mostly trolls... funny

I concur. If someone does not have a profile picture, that doesn't mean they're a troll.
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Just did a new blog post....summarized the potential for tropical cyclogensis in the NW Caribbean/Gulf area. Look for possible cyclogenesis beginning 5 days from now...I see quiet a few models jumping aboard with some sort of solution which tells me their is a high risk here...

I was expecting the cyclogenesis to be associated with the tropical wave currently mid-ocean (seems reasonable that the t-wave will be in the W Carib region by 5 days out based on typical west speed of t-waves). But Dr. M's statement seems to indicate it being associated with a cold front to dive south associated with eastern US upper trough. Maybe it'll turn out to be a combination of the forecast front and t-wave agitating the weather...
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Quoting 315. weatherlover94:


I don't think I had seen that person on here before. Most trolls I noticed do not have there pictures on here


That is funny, more than 1/2 the people on here don't have a picture of themselves, it's of the ocean, a storm, landmark, sky...whatever. I don't have a picture cause I just don't care to post 1. Trolls are people who come on here and make wild predictions or guesses that usually think will impact themselves. Just cause someone doesn't have a picture, doesn't mean they are mostly trolls... funny
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1689
12Z GFS needs to point that thing elsewhere.
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The Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean is really pumping the moisture into East Africa.
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Quoting 315. weatherlover94:


I don't think I had seen that person on here before. Most trolls I noticed do not have there pictures on here
true!
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Things will need to quickly get going in the Southern Caribbean for this Low to be in the central GOM in 6 days. It will be fun to watch this week. I'm still not sold on the Low moving north vs westwardly into Mexico.
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Quoting 311. TylerStanfield:

Don't quote the trolls. - ! and Ignore User.

Don't know how many times I have to say it...
lol!
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Quoting 311. TylerStanfield:

Don't quote the trolls. - ! and Ignore User.

Don't know how many times I have to say it...


I don't think I had seen that person on here before. Most trolls I noticed do not have there pictures on here
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Quoting 306. dis1322:
Getting some good rainfall here in south Texas!!

You lucky duck, Not a drop here.
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12z CMC rainfall totals up to 240 hours
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
I see the GFS has still not dropped the Gulf system for this week lets see if the GFS will verify
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Quoting 305. weatherlover94:


what ?....I can't help it that it is

Link

Don't quote the trolls. - ! and Ignore User.

Don't know how many times I have to say it...
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heats starting soon in the atlantic like miami heats in tha water xD
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Quoting 254. unknowncomic:
Any one find a good Phillipine webcam?


I looked and couldn't find any in the impacted area. Of course, could have missed it. And yes, I know it's dark :) I watched a typhoon update webcast (Update 10) on westernpacificweather.com and Robert Speta has a brief video incorporated in the update, but he indicated he wasn't able to locate any additional video. Link
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Quoting 267. seminolesfan:

Come on now. The A storm did have some winds in her, but it was never much more than a strong semi-frontal low at best. She earned her name, but almost a hurricane she was not.

She was not of non-tropical or sub-tropical origin, all storms so far this season have been of full Tropical Origin. Andrea was of the Monsoonal Gyre and was enhanced by the heights pattern that set up over the Southern US that enhanced slow consolidation. The storm did begin to phase with the trough after 24 hours of being named but it was lopsided due to dry air and shear, which is typical of a Early June Gulf of Mexico Tropical cyclone.
I have to tend to agree with the possibility of the GFS having issues forecasting Tropical Cyclone Genesis in the wake of a Trough, considering that the GFS is known for over-amplifying fronts and this could easily be the case.
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I know it's way too early to have a concrete path, but were are the models taking the potential treat on today's model runs and are conditions favorable for continued development.
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Getting some good rainfall here in south Texas!!
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Quoting 301. Bama684:


YOU SHOULD NEVER TALK AGAIN!!! EVER!!!


what ?....I can't help it that it is

Link
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12z precip totals to 384 hours



Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
303. JLPR2
Compared to last night the TW in the Cape Verde area is weaker but more organized, contradictory, no?

The potency of the spin in the mid level is less but now the system is aligned at all the levels. Also, it seems to be fighting off the dry air and it's moving SSW, into the ITCZ, that should help it with the dry air issues to the north.

850mb:


700mb:


500mb:


Still interesting...
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8693
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Quoting 289. weatherlover94:
the gulf is VERY favorable


YOU SHOULD NEVER TALK AGAIN!!! EVER!!!
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300. beell
Quoting 285. Stormchaser121:

Trough further west??


Not real sure where the potential "steering" part of the trough will set up and when. Just a hint in the upper levels that we could see some type of transition to hybrid/sub-trop near the point of "landfall" if one were to occur on the northern gulf coast.
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We love to track hurricanes and are anxious for their formation, but we pray never to be anywhere close when they arrive. And the mess and destruction they leave behind is just so sickening. I love them before they arrive and hate them when they are gone.
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OMG we're so desperate we're chasing ghost storms into the Gulf. And they can hit anywhere from Mexico to FL. Whew thank god I live on the Southeast coast of FL nothing to worry about here ;-)
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hmmm
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Looks like Utor is making landfall in the midst of an eyewall replacement cycle. I wouldn't call that good news, but maybe less-bad news for the people in the Philippines.
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FIM 9
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Quoting 292. HurriHistory:
The Tropical Wave now over central Africa is continuing to look very impressive as it is a very large system with a quite an expansive area of moisture associated with it. This will be a Wave to Watch in the coming days as it moves off the West African coast. Our first possible Cape Verde Hurricane for 2013.


ahhh
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Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
The Tropical Wave now over central Africa is continuing to look very impressive as it is a very large system with a quite an expansive area of moisture associated with it. This will be a Wave to Watch in the coming days as it moves off the West African coast. Our first possible Cape Verde Hurricane for 2013.
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hi every one, is been like almost 2 weeks with out me been here, and like i say before i took the break that around the 15 of august we will see the cape verde and the gulf heating up at almost the same time and that in september the atlantic will start to go crazy with storm, there is much less sal and dry air near africa where a low have been put on the surface map but i think that the wave in central africa is really the one to watch and the start of a active period and one last thing, the mjo will help development in september and october
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The next monster wave just starting to develope
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the gulf is VERY favorable
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next week is the usual kick-off for the season
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Quoting 260. wunderkidcayman:
new surface map added new Low to tropical wave near CV islands to the SSW of it and within Monsoon trof


Yes, the oceansat showed it to be just south and it appered the cimms showed it still to the east.
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EXTENDED FORECAST DISCUSSION
NWS WEATHER PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
1124 AM EDT SUN AUG 11 2013

VALID 12Z WED AUG 14 2013 - 12Z SUN AUG 18 2013


THE GLOBAL NUMERICAL MODELS ARE INDICATING THAT THE AMPLIFICATION
OF THE PATTERN ACROSS THE UNITED STATES WILL PEAK EARLY IN THE
MEDIUM RANGE, WITH RELATIVELY HIGH HEIGHTS REMAINING OVER THE WEST
AND LOW HEIGHTS IN THE EAST. THERE ARE SIGNS THAT A DIFFUSE,
CLOSED UPPER LOW COULD FORM IN THE EAST BY DAY 7, WHICH WOULD
INCREASE THE CHANCES OF RAINFALL SIGNIFICANTLY OVER MUCH OF THE
REGION. THE ENSEMBLE MEANS CONTINUE TO SIDESTEP "RUNAWAY"
SHORTWAVE DEVELOPMENT, WITH THE BIGGEST UNCERTAINTY HOW DEEP A
SURFACE LOW OFF THE MID ATLANTIC COAST MIGHT BE AT THE END OF THE
PERIOD. THE 00Z/11 AND 06Z/11 GFS WERE THE MOST AGGRESSIVE WITH
THAT FEATURE.


RAINFALL OVER THE CENTRAL AND WESTERN UNITED STATES WILL BE HARDER
TO COME BY, WITH WARM-ADVECTION SHOWERS OVER THE GREAT PLAINS, AND
DIMINISHING MONSOONAL CONVECTION OVER THE SOUTHWEST.


CISCO
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288

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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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