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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1386. ncstorm
Quoting 1378. AtHomeInTX:
hmmmm...



the CMC never fails to disappoint us weather folks..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13417
The instructions are in French but you can see the CMC and GFS ensemble members here. 0z and 12 z runs. Link
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I just honestly want to say goodluck to Camille and his 80kt storm prediction.
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Quoting 1378. AtHomeInTX:
hmmmm...



Hi AtHome..... What is that showing exactly? That suppose to go to LA if anything develops?
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Quoting 1378. AtHomeInTX:
hmmmm...


Ignore this model trust me there will be abig time storm that will form that models are bunch of shams!
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1381. sar2401
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
hmmmm...



As usual, the CMC is scattering lows across the Gulf of Mexico in hopes that one of them will be close enough to be right. :-)
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1380. GBguy88
It takes one Hell of a hurricane to create enough chaos that you should feel the need to have mace and guns, such as there was with storms like Andrew and Katrina. I remember Opal, Ivan, and Dennis (also Erin, same year as Opal, but only a weak Cat-2), and we didn't personally experience any looting or criminal activity in our neighborhood, nor the rest of town to my knowledge, despite peak effects from each of those storms. After Ivan and Dennis, you could barely move 10 feet without running into police or National Guard troops, and they were dead serious about the curfews. Given you're not in a major metro area for a major storm (like Katrina/New Orleans, or even Sandy/NYC), it's surprising how quickly the authorities are able to restore order under normal post-storm circumstances.
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1379. sar2401
Quoting Jedkins01:


Impressive storms, indeed, but unfortunately for you, I'm well aware of those. One need not live in a location to understand what weather occurs there.

While those storms are impressive, it doesn't quite make up for your gross exaggeration of landcanes with winds well over 100 mph that seemingly strike northern California as if its a climatological norm.


I've exaggerated over my love for weather and have had to admit it, lol, why not admit it yourself as well?

Maybe you can refresh my memory about when I said that these 100 mph storms were a climatological norm. I stated, correctly, that they happen with some regularity, and they are not a rare event. If you actually understood the frequency and intensity of violent northern California winter storms, you wouldn't have thought what I wrote was any exaggeration to begin with.
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hmmmm...

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Campeche crawler.

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Quite a slug of moisture in the Gulf of Mexico depicted in this model.

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Quoting 1372. ncstorm:
am I reading that correctly? 15 inches of rain for the panhandle and inland areas? the colors are not the best for me differentiate..
thru 228 hours

I think it is in the 5-10 inch range for the highest shading over FL. It's still a lot of rain.
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1003 mb!!
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1373. centex
I don't need a model to tell me me we will have a tropical system in 7-10 days. Call it the practical model.
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1372. ncstorm
am I reading that correctly? 15 inches of rain for the panhandle and inland areas? the colors are not the best for me differentiate..
thru 228 hours
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13417
GFS is showing the waves of Africa leaving way to the north..Main issue..
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1370. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
00 gfs precip totals hr 180

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1369. centex
Quoting 1362. Stormchaser121:

Models cause too much confusion. Back in 2008 i only looked at spaghetti models...and 4 websites. NHC, weather.com, weatherunderground (not the blog), and stormpulse. I NEVER looked at the long range computer models. I miss the old way i looked at things...but for some dang reason I cant get away from these ole models. They do too much windshield wipering...and dropping and coming up with ghost storms etc.
they are programs written by humans, with all our flaws. Just a tool and best to use only a little when coming up with forecast. The exerts always say how they discount or confirm the the model results, meaning the live human forecast is still the best.
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cmc coming in WAY weaker.
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1367. sar2401
Quoting KoritheMan:


Dude, do you seriously think I don't consider all this? Just because I want a storm doesn't mean I'm ignorant, stupid, or any other word you can think of.

I live in the same state you do, for god's sake.

Also, I don't doubt that these things happen, but at least where I live, I've never even heard of such incidents happening anywhere close to where I live.

Kori, how many cat 3 and above storms have made a direct hit on your neighborhood what you were old enough to really remember it? Assuming you live in an urban or suburban area (not completely rural), the veneer of civilization is quite thin. The things she described do happen in any kind of neighborhood after a disaster or during any other kind of civil unrest. It's may not be the people from your neighborhood that you have to worry about. There are people who take the opportunity for enriching themselves from others when there are no police to stop them.

If you're chasing, your situation is much more precarious. You don't know the area, you don't know how badly civil order may be breaking down, and you'll have a nice vehicle and neat stuff these street thugs will take from you in a heartbeat. If I was chasing, in addition to all the other usual supplies and equipment, I wouldn't leave home without three more things - a handheld ham radio, pepper spray, and a gun. Your cell phone will not work, guaranteed, in the aftermath of a big storm, but a ham radio will and you can always raise someone for help, even if it's just asking if you're in a part of town you'd best leave. You can even use it to get on the internet when there's no cell service. If you're threatened by people who want to take your stuff, pepper spray hurts, and it can allow you to get away. There are some thugs that will just shoot you and then take your stuff. In my 27 years as a peace officer, I had to fire my weapon twice, and both times I would have been killed or seriously injured if I hadn't fired first. Luckily for the bad guys, I wasn't that good a shot, so they both survived. Up to you about how you feel about guns and if you're willing to spend the time to get properly trained, but bringing a laptop and GRLevel to a gunfight rarely turns out well for the guy with the laptop.
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Quoting 1113. sar2401:

You live in Florida, right? Ever lived in northern California? No, I didn't think so. I did, for almost 30 years. Here's a few stories about some of the historic windstorms in northern California, Oregon, and Washington. There were many others, including storms that toppled hundred of high voltage towers and left much of northern California in darkness for weeks. Google "ARkStorm" for more information. Sometimes getting a tad bit of information about what you're posting about helps.


Impressive storms, indeed, but unfortunately for you, I'm well aware of those. One need not live in a location to understand what weather occurs there.

While those storms are impressive, it doesn't quite make up for your gross exaggeration of landcanes with winds well over 100 mph that seemingly strike northern California as if its a climatological norm.


I've exaggerated over my love for weather and have had to admit it, lol, why not admit it yourself as well?
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1365. centex
Rest now, tropics about to light up. Not a guru but always happens mid/late August.
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img src="">
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Quoting 1303. sar2401:

I was going to say, it has something to do with my ex, and I definitely can't put that on the blog. :-)Where did the term "pouch" actually come from? Did they put these kinds of sort-of invests in actual pouches at one time, or what?


I heard the term explained on a YouTube video very recently, I'll see if I can find it. It was a general introduction to hurricanes, and the idea was exactly that of a marsupial, that the circulation is protected within a pouch of moist air. Or something like that.

Here's a link to a text explanation:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/weather/research/2 008-08-17-hurricane-pouch_N.htm

Link
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Quoting 1351. centex:
Forget the models , we will have two storms in 7-10 days. Everyone will be talking how active the season is.

Models cause too much confusion. Back in 2008 i only looked at spaghetti models...and 4 websites. NHC, weather.com, weatherunderground (not the blog), and stormpulse. I NEVER looked at the long range computer models. I miss the old way i looked at things...but for some dang reason I cant get away from these ole models. They do too much windshield wipering...and dropping and coming up with ghost storms etc.
Member Since: September 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1140
Quoting 1354. Grothar:


Hey, stop knocking the 90's. We weren't exactly living in caves at the time. :)
iPhone's didn't exist, so obviously conditions were very cave-like. ;P
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Quoting 1346. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I don't see any real inhibitors to development except for the system's large size. But we've seen countless storms do it in the same location. Upper-air pattern is favorable, sea surface temperatures are favorable, etc, etc. I'd put the odds at least twice yours.

Reminds me of Debby. West into Texas or northeast into Florida.

You remind me of Avila, lol. I guess I'm Stewart.
LOL, damn, I've always considered myself to be extremely liberal when it comes to development. In this case though, I just prefer to be a little more cautious with these types of systems, especially when model support isn't too strong. Upper-level winds shouldn't be too bad to the point that development will be impossible, but it will definitely be a lopsided system (east weighted) due to the southwesterly shear from the upper-trough. It will also be a lot of moisture that will need to consolidate in order for it to develop into a tropical cyclone. We'll see how it goes. We'll definitely have a much better idea once the moisture begins to blossom in the northwestern Caribbean in about 72 hours.
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Quoting 1354. Grothar:


Hey, stop knocking the 90's. We weren't exactly living in caves at the time. :)


Didn't the GEICO cavemen start later, in 2007?
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Cody if you're still on, could you go to my blog and read the most recent comment and play the vid? I'm not sure if that's you or Kori at the end. If you could let me know I'd appreciate it.

Thanks.
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Quoting 1354. Grothar:


Hey, stop knocking the 90's. We weren't exactly living in caves at the time. :)


1890's you was close to living that way.....don't fib.
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Quoting 1336. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
we see if something flares in carb just under jam hati cuba later in the week
iam thinking late tus going into wed
gro will likely have a blob watch in effect if we can get an area of convective activity going
we have to see still time out on this one
a few more runs of the models won't hurt


Target downwind, 2,1,4 FIRE AT WILL
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Quoting 1344. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



have a great day 97

I will, thanks Keep!


Quoting 1321. SuperStorm093:


I am going with what CURRENT conditions are, I dont go by long range models, as you all said don't work. Listen, in the end we will see who is right. No need to bicker right now

All I am going to say is the weather is always changing which means current conditions won't be the same later down the road. Like you said, we will see who is right when the season is over.
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1354. Grothar
Quoting 1347. MiamiHurricanes09:
I'd agree if this were the early 90s.


Hey, stop knocking the 90's. We weren't exactly living in caves at the time. :)
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Quoting 1348. TampaSpin:


SILLY TALK....that is why you are ignored..:)
Thank you.
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1352. Grothar
Quoting 1303. sar2401:

I was going to say, it has something to do with my ex, and I definitely can't put that on the blog. :-)Where did the term "pouch" actually come from? Did they put these kinds of sort-of invests in actual pouches at one time, or what?


Actually it is a legitimate term which describes Lagrangian recirculation region within a tropical-wave critical layer or pouch. This is the location of deep convection and vorticity aggregation as well as column moistening which are essential for tropical cyclogenesis. If easterly waves do not have this pouch they normally do not develop.
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1351. centex
Forget the models , we will have two storms in 7-10 days. Everyone will be talking how active the season is.
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Okay I usaully dont post I'm more of a reader trying to learn but Im not understanding the setup of the potential gulf system. theres a wave thats coming from the carribean and will move towards the yucatan and meet with a cold front moving down from the gulf. Did i get that right so far and if so why wouldnt it get pushed off towards the north east?? It will be transversing across the warmest waters in the atlantic but is little mean if the upper air pattern is unfavorable. I know its about 4 to 5 day from developing and is hard to say what the enviroment will be like but what is it looking as of right now?? Completely confused with the setup.... Sorry for all the questions...
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Typhoon Utor....Wow


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Quoting 1343. SuperStorm093:


My argument is going to LOOK so much better when we have a season that busted low. Yet you still will all ignore me like I never called for that.



SILLY TALK....that is why you are ignored..:)
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Quoting 1335. scottsvb:
When there is nothing there.........models are only "Decent" out to 72hrs. After that... just don't bother unless you like the Farmers Alnamac
I'd agree if this were the early 90s.
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Quoting 1325. MiamiHurricanes09:
Still extremely skeptical about development from this feature.

There will definitely be an increase in moisture across the northwestern Caribbean Sea in about 72 hours which should gradually move northwestward into the central Gulf of Mexico before turning poleward. Whether this feature will be able to acquire a closed surface circulation remains to be seen, but it's definitely obvious that we will be dealing with a large and broad area of convective activity moving into the northern Gulf coast beyond the 5 day time frame.

I'm putting the chance for development no higher than 30% at this point.

I don't see any real inhibitors to development except for the system's large size. But we've seen countless storms do it in the same location. Upper-air pattern is favorable, sea surface temperatures are favorable, etc, etc. I'd put the odds at least twice yours.

Reminds me of Debby. West into Texas or northeast into Florida.

You remind me of Avila, lol. I guess I'm Stewart.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30237
1345. ncstorm
Quoting 1342. scottsvb:
If anyone guesses on a track after 72hrs is just that guessing, even if it does come true. There is nothing there right now, and until something forms, we won't know where it will go until it's in that area.


Scott..I know you said at one point that We meaning the NHC..if 72 hours is guessing then why do they have a 5 day forecast?..thats way past 72 hours?
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13417
1344. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting 1327. wxchaser97:

Thanks Cody!
Wait hey, I want a present! :(



have a great day 97
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Quoting 1339. redwagon:


Your pain really, really just sears and burns me! How could this possibly happen to innocent you? I will be more than happy to post your challenge of 'next'. As in, 'I lost, who's next to technically take me down?'



My argument is going to LOOK so much better when we have a season that busted low. Yet you still will all ignore me like I never called for that.

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If anyone guesses on a track after 72hrs is just that guessing, even if it does come true. There is nothing there right now, and until something forms, we won't know where it will go until it's in that area.
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Quoting 1335. scottsvb:
When there is nothing there.........models are only "Decent" out to 72hrs. After that... just don't bother unless you like the Farmers Alnamac


dido
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1340. JLPR2
Also, interesting low emerging at 159hrs. I expect the GFS to show something developing in the CATL soon at the long, but not so long range, aka before 192hrs.

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Quoting 1301. SuperStorm093:
You challenged me lol, what did you say I don't remember you even mentioning me last night.


My GOD it is so annoying that I cant even forecast the way I want without getting HATE, so stupid, if I came on saying heads up big storm ahead, you guys would love it.


Your pain really, really just sears and burns me! How could this possibly happen to innocent you? I will be more than happy to post your challenge of 'next'. As in, 'I lost, who's next to technically take me down?'

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Quoting 1332. Camille33:

I posted my track earlier this will be between opal and wilma!!
Yeah okay.....this thing is not even going to reach hurricane status. My opinion.
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1337. Grothar
Quoting 1323. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Just don't tell him. I'll slip him one later. :)


Deal. It makes him happy.
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1336. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting 1319. Eyewall07:
What is your gut telling you as far as intensity on this on KOTG.
we see if something flares in carb just under jam hati cuba later in the week
iam thinking late tus going into wed
gro will likely have a blob watch in effect if we can get an area of convective activity going
we have to see still time out on this one
a few more runs of the models won't hurt
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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.