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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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
Quoting 264. beell:

08/11 12Z GFS 300 mb heights, winds @ 153 hrs


Trough further west??
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Quoting 270. SFLWeatherman:
Nice post here. Hoping for the FIM 7 or 8 outcome.
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Quoting 276. weatherlover94:
nope....they still say nothing for 5 days

well I did say NHC won't mention any of the 2 Areas to have Interest in (that should be abbreviated ATHII) till monday or tuesday
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The last thing we need now is some weak storm to limp into Mexico. The blog needs a big landfalling US storm, preferably with lots of property loss...to wipe away the nightmare of the current lull.
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Quoting 271. MisterPerfect:


That great big thing over Africa has my attention.... it will be interesting to see if it goes poof once it hits water like all the rest.....or develop
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Some spin over land in Panama area.
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Quoting 273. weatherlover94:


lol

lol
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nope....they still say nothing for 5 days
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Quoting 270. SFLWeatherman:

Good now make one that shows where each model has it starting from
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Quoting 269. wunderkidcayman:

maybe if NHC knows what good for them


lol
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Quoting 270. SFLWeatherman:

I like the way you did that!
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Quoting 263. weatherlover94:


anybody think it will get mention at 2:00 ?

maybe if NHC knows what good for them
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Blog Euphoria.......... until the next run the GFS drops a storm.
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Quoting 258. TropicalAnalystwx13:
I wonder if the GFS has an issue correctly identifying the configuration of a tropical cyclone in the wake of a potent trough. It showed Andrea as nothing more than a weak frontal low when it nearly became a hurricane.

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.
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So im seeing most of the models are on board with the FIM 7 and 8
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So now we see if the Euro catches on or just keeps being the outlier..
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264. beell

08/11 12Z GFS 300 mb heights, winds @ 153 hrs

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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


anybody think it will get mention at 2:00 ?
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Quoting 242. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Man it is nice to have some support, the FIM is looking good today.


Just stick with your guns..you will soon learn those people who are wrong as usual always get ghost when there is model support or try to say after the fact that I did say "if"..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
261. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 254. unknowncomic:
Any one find a good Phillipine webcam?


not sure how much you would be able to see .. isn't still dark there ??
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new surface map added new Low to tropical wave near CV islands to the SSW of it and within Monsoon trof
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Navgem

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
I wonder if the GFS has an issue correctly identifying the configuration of a tropical cyclone in the wake of a potent trough. It showed Andrea as nothing more than a weak frontal low when it nearly became a hurricane.
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Oh naysayers????

GFS also has the GOM and some action in the central atlantic..

CMC- two hurricanes



Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
Whilst I would like to see ALL Hurricane/Typhoon Seasons everywhere being "busts" - I am too much of a realist and I know this will never happen - at least not in my lifetime.

Begs the question also - Are Hurricanes like one part of Mother Nature's atmospheric "Safety Valve" systems - could we be atmospherically (on a global basis) worse off without Hurricanes?

Bring on the benign rains to the Caribbean region - yes - Hurricanes NO.

For the Caribbean, IMHO it is only a matter of time this season - not "If" but "When" - the water around here feels like warm soup right now!

I am sure that there are many people who access this Site to learn but are not members and sometimes, I feel that those "ifs", "ands", "should haves" & "could haves" etc from doomcasters, wishcasters, panicmongers help to make some of these people either complacent or terrified - not that I have anything against a dose of healthy fear and attendant respect now and then!
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Nice lookin waves.

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Any one find a good Phillipine webcam?
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Seasons a bust. Oh xxxx, I need to board up my windows.
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Quoting 226. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Figures the GFS would show stronger systems on this run.

Hello Caleb..Dont put so much thought on model runs. There are several reasons why the models are not showing storm development other than the unfavorable conditions. This wave over Central Africa will be the first hurricane of the Atlantic season. Moisture in and around the MDR will be sufficient to power this system up rather quickly. The shear in the Caribbean may be an issue, but not as strong as they are now.

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250. beell
Quoting 217. seminolesfan:

With this type of synoptic setup and


this pop distribution,

at 150hrs!!!(coin toss time)

There is a lot of evidence for some frontal low type presentation of the AOI for the low shown in THIS run...


Good point. With the mid-latitude upper trough swinging down, a track to the north as opposed to the W or WNW could allow for an attempt at transition. Even though I believe this would begin as purely tropical.
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44 kts by NCEP Cyclogenesis Tracker, noting GFS does not have the resolution to accurately model tropical cyclone strength.

TG 0028 2013081112_F096_192N_0871W_FOF 2013081112 03 GFSO 156 294N 883W 44 1005




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MJO not as important now, but will increase the chances of development.
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246. TXCWC
Quoting 240. SFLWeatherman:
12Z CMC a Hurricane into TX


Intensity is probably (hopefully)over done but I like the track
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Quoting 240. SFLWeatherman:
12Z CMC a Hurricane into TX

Seems questionable. A hurricane would catch the weakness to the northeast.
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Quoting 240. SFLWeatherman:
12Z CMC a Hurricane into TX
I see the CMC flexing its muscles.
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Quoting 237. SFLWeatherman:
12Z CMC at 120HR
Man it is nice to have some support, the FIM is looking good today.
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12Z CMC a Hurricane into TX
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Please no more, "Well the season's over then!" It makes one sound ridiculous coming before the meat of the season even begins and when we've already had four named storms. Oh, and when the experts are calling for an active season, doesn't help the canelesscasting person either.
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Quoting 225. TXCWC:


No problem :) The FIMs have definetly begun to grow on me given the apparent competitivness they have shown with the GFS and with some storms even the Euro. I now consider the FIM 9 and possibly FIM 8 along with the GFS and Euro as the best dynamic models available in terms of tropical storm tracking...just my opinion of course.


Caleb seems quite fond of the FIMs as well. Although, he's been a tiny bit irritated with the GFS as of late... :)
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12Z CMC at 120HR
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Early recurves of stronger storms will likely be expected this season, but for those that make it across look out as if those storms miss their exits they will track long.

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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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