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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Everyone saying that the season will be a bust but if you look at the most active seasons on record only 5 seasons have been more active at this stage so far. Lets talk again the same time next month then we will see how much of a bust this season will be.
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Quoting 128. Socalmargie:
hmmmm alot of personal questions on here.. and in california people use this site from time to time to track the santa anna winds etc. etc.


personal questions? oh dear sweet buddha in a basket. (rolls eyes)

Sorry you outgrew the Barbie dolls.

Have fun.
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Quoting 88. Socalmargie:
well i moved back here to georgia to live with my parents and my uncle is a weather maniac, and he ses it hasnt been bad for along time and this year should be ok. as a matter of fact he said we probably wont see any storms hit the usa this year because of all the dry and wiindy conditions everywhere and also theres been alot of fronts comming down from the north very early this year and if a storm comes the fronts will kick it out to the ocean


I am a very long-time lurker, and have recently began commenting a slight bit more. I would like to comment more, however, I have great respect for the educated, trained (self or professionally) members here and don't like to appear foolish or confrontational. And I know that there is an ignore button, but I am so frustrated with unsubstantiated, blanket statements that I had to say something!

I am not a trained meteorologist, and while I have an avid interest in meteorology and climatology, I would never call myself an expert. I am, however, a historian, and a historian always looks for VALID evidence. I'm sorry, but your unless your uncle the "weather maniac" has some actual training, I (and others I'm sure) cannot accept him as a valid source, especially when his evidence is quite faulty in and of itself! Provide real, legitimate data in support of your theory and perhaps it can be taken seriously.
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1998 featured a lull during the first half of August.

Enough said.
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Quoting 123. Socalmargie:
i like the rain also, something we do not get much of in southern cal, but as i can see theres alot of rain and thunderstorms in georgia


When is your wettest time of year?
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still quiet in the Atlantic. I am wondering too if this season is a bust or overhyped.
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129. wxmod
North Pole in upper left. MODIS satellite image

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Quoting 88. Socalmargie:
well i moved back here to georgia to live with my parents and my uncle is a weather maniac, and he ses it hasnt been bad for along time and this year should be ok. as a matter of fact he said we probably wont see any storms hit the usa this year because of all the dry and wiindy conditions everywhere and also theres been alot of fronts comming down from the north very early this year and if a storm comes the fronts will kick it out to the ocean


The thing about the Atlantic hurricane season is how dynamic it is, conditions change. I've lived on the east coast most of my life, and been around WU since Hurricane Bret hit S. Texas back in 2000. I'm not going to be like some of the die hards on here and say you are wrong, the season hasn't really started yet, etc... I'm just going to say it's best to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Maybe our luck will continue and we won't get hit by a major this year, but the models that we use to predict the weather are leaning in that direction.
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Utor now classified as a Super Typhoon.

Link
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A Season BUST as some use the term is WHAT....NO MAJOR LAND FALLING CANE, NOT MEETING THE FORECAST TOTAL, What exactly is a SEASON BUST....I HATE THAT TERM and will never use it.
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Here it is!!

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Quoting 119. Socalmargie:
my uncle is 81 years old and doesnt have a puter and is confined to a wheelchair . why do you ask ?


Just wondering how you found this place, maybe if someone told you about it, encouraged you to join.
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Wind Shear and SAL will limit the formation of storms, and DEFINITELY keep any hurricanes in check from rapidly strengthening.
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Quoting 117. Socalmargie:
that looks bad but pretty marina


XD naah that looks GOOD lol I love the rain and the bad weather
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Quoting 94. TopOfTheLakeFL:
Wowzers the down caster trolls are out in full force this morning.. Impressive RI with that Super typhoon Utor. They should really pay attention. We will get those type of SST and have all the fuel for future development.. I think the WU community forecast is right on with 17 named storms. I try to ignore the people calling for no more than 10 or no more at all for the rest of the season, but i had to speak out about it. I am still in the at least 3 named storms in August camp.



Downcasters.....REally...LMAO
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Quoting 88. Socalmargie:
well i moved back here to georgia to live with my parents and my uncle is a weather maniac, and he ses it hasnt been bad for along time and this year should be ok. as a matter of fact he said we probably wont see any storms hit the usa this year because of all the dry and wiindy conditions everywhere and also theres been alot of fronts comming down from the north very early this year and if a storm comes the fronts will kick it out to the ocean


does your uncle post here?
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Look at those dark clouds XD



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What seems like a slow start to the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season is actually right on par with normal, experts say.
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33 Missing in Bicol as Labuyo / Utor approaches the Philippines
Published on August 11, 2013 by robert speta

Thirty Three Fishermen have gone missing in Catanduanes since Saturday. Waves across the island are kicking up to 5m high and Typhoon Labuyo is still intensifying making and search and rescue efforts extremely dangerous and almost futile.

APDRRMC spokesperson said the 33 fishermen were from four towns including Pandan, Gigmoto, Virac and Bagamonoc. Initially the number of people missing was fourty yet seven have returned home. Lets hope the other 33 have simialer fate.

Despite the news of the storm system approaching the fishermen still ventured out on Saturday. Granted through Saturday evening PAGASA was still calling this storm a “Tropical Storm” despite other agencies upgrading it to a violent Typhoon. This may have not set off alarms for many people especially fishermen who make there lives at the sea. ...
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I love the sound of thunder BUT the rain still not falling!
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108. Siker
Quoting 106. Socalmargie:
what does that mean? do you know me or my family?
Yes.
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Quoting 104. Socalmargie:
ah i see... so can i give my opinion and say it will be a bust then too?


sorry I meant *quiet*

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Quoting 100. pcola57:


I feel your pain Carib.. :)


Though I think it will finally come within the next hour..

I hope I'm not wrong lol.
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103. Siker
*cough* Socalmargie is very obviously an old friend of ours.
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Quoting 91. Socalmargie:
BUST???? does that mean no storms or alot of storms?


That means everything is quiet.. for now... and downcasters use it as an argument to say the season will be a bust.
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Quoting 97. CaribBoy:


Yes sure don't want a monster like UTOR..

The rain is passing just to my south.... I'm frustrated lol.


I feel your pain Carib.. :)
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Quoting 96. Socalmargie:
another thing i have notice is that many of the forcasts this year have'nt been every accurate, so i dont believe them


Totally agree with that too..
Maybe soon we can get even better at that.. :)
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Quoting 93. pcola57:


Remember Carib..
Be careful what ya wish for..
I do hope you get some meaningful rain soon though.. :)


Yes sure don't want a monster like UTOR..

The rain is passing just to my south.... I'm frustrated lol.
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Wowzers the down caster trolls are out in full force this morning.. Impressive RI with that Super typhoon Utor. They should really pay attention. We will get those type of SST and have all the fuel for future development.. I think the WU community forecast is right on with 17 named storms. I try to ignore the people calling for no more than 10 or no more at all for the rest of the season, but i had to speak out about it. I am still in the at least 3 named storms in August camp.
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Quoting 89. CaribBoy:
BUST is everywhere lol


Remember Carib..
Be careful what ya wish for..
I do hope you get some meaningful rain soon though.. :)
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More than 7,000 stranded due to typhoon 'Labuyo'
ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 08/11/2013 4:41 PM | Updated as of 08/11/2013 4:41 PM

MANILA - At least 7,581 have been stranded in several ports in Luzon because of the rains caused by typhoon Labuyo (Utor), which has yet to make a landfall.

Based on its 3:00 p.m. report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said most of the stranded passengers are in the Bicol province.

The NDRRMC and several of its regional offices are now on red alert as the typhoon, which the state weather bureau Pagasa described as the strongest so far this year, continues to move towards Luzon.

This means regional centers are directed to undertake precautionary measures in their respective jurisdictions.

Several areas are now under signal number 3. As of 3:00 p.m., the typhoon was located at 130 kilometers north of Virac, Catanduanes.

To prepare for the rains, the National Irrigation Administration has opened three gates of the Magat dam. It was already near its spilling level as early as Saturday, at 187.83 meters.

Typhoon "Labuyo" will enhance the Southwest Monsoon, which will bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains over the rest of Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Residents in areas under storm warning signals are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides.
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Quoting 87. SuperStorm093:
Ok, yes it does just take 1 storm it to be memorable, but that doesnt mean the season as in numbers cant be a bust low.


Totally agree..
But forecasts are forecasts..
No more..no less.. :)
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BUST is everywhere lol
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Ok, yes it does just take 1 storm it to be memorable, but that doesnt mean the season as in numbers cant be a bust low.
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Quoting 51. GTstormChaserCaleb:


GT, are you most confident with FIM-9, the high rez?
I have nothing but contempt for 7 after that LA betrayal.
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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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