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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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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When there is nothing there.........models are only "Decent" out to 72hrs. After that... just don't bother unless you like the Farmers Alnamac
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1606
I see 00z GFS is weaker. I am right about that Keeper?
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1333. Grothar
Well, I'm glad I can go to sleep and see you all in a good mood, well all except TampaSpin, but I can say that because we have been friends for years. The mood is a lot better than earlier. And only one little word of advice. If you do have to insult each other, at least spell the words correctly. It lends so much more credence to your argument.

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Quoting 1329. SuperStorm093:
Ok I will hold you to that, the hook back into Florida, even though you still claim you never said Dorian would become a 60 kt storm again even though I had it quoted.

I posted my track earlier this will be between opal and wilma!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1396
New track out soon with new video very good video !!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1396
Shear has been around 20kts or higher in the Gulf of Mexico for what seems the last month....that all may change, but currently its still around 20kts or higher.
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Quoting 1322. Camille33:

That is not gona verify when if it got stronger it will take a hook into florida like wilma and follow mid - upper level steering so no front collision is gona happen!! If you look because it was weak it followed the weaker stearing layer around the high !!
Ok I will hold you to that, the hook back into Florida, even though you still claim you never said Dorian would become a 60 kt storm again even though I had it quoted.
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1328. JLPR2
00z CMC initialization:

Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8506
Quoting 1320. TropicalAnalystwx13:



Happy Birthday, Isaac. :P

Thanks Cody!
Wait hey, I want a present! :(
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Quoting 1315. mitchelace5:
Not trying to offend anyone here. Just courious, does Wunderblog ban trolls?
Not as many as they should.
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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.
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1324. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting 1310. SuperStorm093:
I am not starting the bickering, I just say what I think will happen and people hate on me, makes no sense.
you appear to be just a little overly excited and appear able to constrain yourself until you reach a point of no rtn
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Quoting 1317. Grothar:


He'll never forgive you for stealing Count Elsie's line.


Just don't tell him. I'll slip him one later. :)
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Quoting 1316. SuperStorm093:


Not yet close to landfall, and look at that camille, already interacted with the front.

That is not gona verify when if it got stronger it will take a hook into florida like wilma and follow mid - upper level steering so no front collision is gona happen!! If you look because it was weak it followed the weaker stearing layer around the high !!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1396
Quoting 1318. wxchaser97:

It might because you don't provide hard facts to back up your claims on an inactive season, but it is just a guess. :)


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
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Quoting 1304. wxchaser97:

You probably should have. :P
Was good advice too!



Happy Birthday, Isaac. :P
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31526
What is your gut telling you as far as intensity on this one KOTG.
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Quoting 1310. SuperStorm093:
I am not starting the bickering, I just say what I think will happen and people hate on me, makes no sense.

It might because you don't provide hard facts to back up your claims on an inactive season, but it is just a guess. :)
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1317. Grothar
Quoting 1284. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


About 3 pounds. .... Geoffry went to bed. I guess I get to fill in. .... Don't tell him I stole his line. :)


He'll never forgive you for stealing Count Elsie's line.
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Not yet close to landfall, and look at that camille, already interacted with the front.
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Not trying to offend anyone here. Just courious, does Wunderblog ban trolls?
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Quoting 1312. KoritheMan:


The millibars don't matter; a tropical cyclone is a tropical cyclone. Look at the isobars.
Still a BAM is like a hurricane lol, just messing.
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1313. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


00 GFS HR 132





models are for guidance purposes only and do not depict final out come things can and will change
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Quoting 1307. SuperStorm093:
a 1008 isnt quite BAM, and tone? its the internet, I have no tone, just typing.


The millibars don't matter; a tropical cyclone is a tropical cyclone. Look at the isobars.
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1311. sar2401
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


This one is even bigger

My favorite chicken of all time, although Colonel Foghorn Leghorn would probably take umbrage at being called a hen. :-)
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I am not starting the bickering, I just say what I think will happen and people hate on me, makes no sense.
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Quoting 1293. llpj04:




I'm sure I will be. If I'm not, I had a good time of it. :)

EDIT: But I probably shouldn't have assumed your gender. I do admit to having a terrible habit of that. I apologize, and perhaps one day I'll act on that apology.
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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.

I am calling the paramedics !! I maybe got bad vision what you think about that!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1396
Quoting 1302. KoritheMan:


No, it's just that for some reason you think the GFS should show development every run. There have been many nights where you've said that the GFS wasn't predicting development, in a very disappointed tone.

Long-range development forecasts are highly unreliable. Look how long it took for the GFS to finally latch onto the Gulf system, for example; run after run of nothing. Then bam.
a 1008 isnt quite BAM, and tone? its the internet, I have no tone, just typing.
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Never see such Bickering, Well yes I have on here before....LOL
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1305. llpj04

Quoting 1265. TropicalAnalystwx13:

Stop getting angry for no reason. Nowhere in that post did he/she call people that want a system ignorant or stupid, etc. Was just giving something y'all to consider.

Lol.

Thanks   ;)    
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Quoting 1268. KoritheMan:


I knew it was going to come out that way, haha; believe me, I wasn't angry.

I guess I should take the advice I gave Isaac next time and stick an emoticon somewhere at the end of my post to indicate the levity on my part. :P

You probably should have. :P
Was good advice too!
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1303. sar2401
Quoting Grothar:


I don't think we can put that on the blog.

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?
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Quoting 1294. SuperStorm093:
Not agreeing with everyone, and saying we will have a below the prediction numbers season is whining I guess. People are whining that I say stuff like that.


No, it's just that for some reason you think the GFS should show development every run. There have been many nights where you've said that the GFS wasn't predicting development, in a very disappointed tone.

Long-range development forecasts are highly unreliable. Look how long it took for the GFS to finally latch onto the Gulf system, for example; run after run of nothing. Then bam.
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Quoting 1296. redwagon:


93 is a self-admitted troll. I challenged him the other night, and his response was 'unoriginal. try again. next'
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.
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Quoting 1292. sar2401:

LOL. A good Rhode Island Red can weigh 8 pounds, but why spoil the joke. :-)


This one is even bigger
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1299. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
00 GFS HR 120
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Quoting Astrometeor:


Smaller or bigger than the grains of salt used for the CMC?

Bigger
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Quoting 1295. Camille33:

What are you talking about!! The front if it will hit will collide after it made landfall.
Look at the run right now, you are wrong.
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Quoting 1282. KoritheMan:


Are every single one of your posts complaining about the season in some way?

Just asking.


93 is a self-admitted troll. I challenged him the other night, and his response was 'unoriginal. try again. next'
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Quoting 1290. SuperStorm093:
Its not about the shear, there is a front coming it will collide with that making it non tropical.

What are you talking about!! The front if it will hit will collide after it made landfall.
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1396
Quoting 1289. KoritheMan:


Well it wasn't explicit, but I gleaned an implicit tone to that effect from it.

Pardon me if that's not what you were saying, but you can't blame a guy for thinking that with the way you've whined lately. :P
Not agreeing with everyone, and saying we will have a below the prediction numbers season is whining I guess. People are whining that I say stuff like that.
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1293. llpj04

Quoting 1261. 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.

Dudette for your information & also a capitol G. You better prepare then and with all your wisdom of your 22 years I'm sure you'll be ok!

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1292. sar2401
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


About 3 pounds. .... Geoffry went to bed. I guess I get to fill in. .... Don't tell him I stole his line. :)

LOL. A good Rhode Island Red can weigh 8 pounds, but why spoil the joke. :-)
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1291. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
00GFS HR 114
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Quoting 1287. Camille33:

You need to learn a lot about shear forecasts there is none there!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Its not about the shear, there is a front coming it will collide with that making it non tropical.
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Quoting 1283. SuperStorm093:


Where did I complain about this season in that? Thank you.


Well it wasn't explicit, but I gleaned an implicit tone to that effect from it.

Pardon me if that's not what you were saying, but you can't blame a guy for thinking that with the way you've whined lately. :P
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1288. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
00GFS HR 108

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Quoting 1278. SuperStorm093:
Going to be a one sided storm, probably NOT! tropical again according to the GFS.

You need to learn a lot about shear forecasts there is none there!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1396
1286. sar2401
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Post from Larry Cosgrove:

"Am update on the potential for tropical cyclone strikes between now and the end of the month....

1) I have identified perhaps two (possibly three) disturbances which could target the Gulf of Mexico coastline between now and the end of the month. A look at GOES EAST satellite imagery reveals the first "contender" over the Windward Islands. This feature should move through the Caribbean Sea, and could tap into energy and moisture now bombarding Panama, Colombia and Venezuela (you can see the rough appearance of a cyclonic "circulation" imprint on the ITCZ in that vicinity).

2) After passing through the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula around August 15, the impulse should reach a 500MB weakness squarely over the central Gulf of Mexico. That discontinuity should enable a northward turn for the system over very warm waters, facilitating intensification.

3) Following the ensemble members of all three major numerical models, I suspect this system will become a tropical storm (Erin) and reach Louisiana near Morgan City or Houma (somewhat to the left of the operational GFS series, which places the best landfall threat near Mobile AL).

4) In keeping with recent storms named Erin, I fully expect this feature to be a huge rainmaker. Note the interaction with a diffuse frontal structure over the Old South and Appalachia. Stuck between a weak Sonoran heat ridge and the stable Bermuda High (which only starts to expand westward during the 11 - 15 day period, this storm could be a prolific rain event, with as much as 10 - 15 inch precipitation amounts along and about 400 miles west of the Interstate 85 corridor. In time the torrential rain and flood risk will reach the Ohio Valley. But my earliest speculations on storm track are west of the Piedmont/Atlantic Coastal Plain scenario shown on the standard GFS runs at 12z and 18z.

5) I expect that another, probably stronger tropical wave will organize from a Cape Verde impulse, and move through the Greater Antilles. Since the Bermudan heat ridge complex will be expanding and retrogressing somewhat by that time, the new disturbance will slow somewhat and take a more westward track. The very early betting line would suggest somewhere between Brownsville TX and Matagorda TX. My suspicion is that this "second feature" will be stronger than the low implicated for the central Gulf Coast next weekend.

Sta tuned...."

Interesting analysis. I think the weekend/early next weeks low's strength will depend on how much energy it brings with it from the ITCZ and if that "weakness" in the Gulf is just a weakness or an actual low. I agree the Mobile landfall is too far east, since the low will go straight north once it intensifies. My best guess is somewhere within 50 miles of Waveland MS. I think it will be a TS but it may have a small chance to become a minimal hurricane if it can spend about 12 hours over the loop current. I don't buy the prolific rainmaker diagnosis, since it should move into drier, cooler, and more stable air as it moves north.

I don't have any kind of feeling for the CV storm. There's no doubt in my mind one will form before the end of the month but there are just too many variables this far out.
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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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