Typhoon Utor Pounds Phiippines, Heads for China

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:51 PM GMT on August 12, 2013

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Typhoon Utor powered ashore on the northern Philippine Island of Luzon on Monday near 3 am local time (3 pm EDT Sunday) as a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds. Damage was heavy in Casiguran (population 24,000) near where the typhoon made landfall, with 80% of the infrastructure of the town reportedly destroyed, and all roads into the city blocked. Utor is being blamed for two deaths so far, and 44 fishermen are reported as missing.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Typhoon Utor taken at approximately 02:30 UTC on Monday, August 12. At the time, Utor was a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Passage over Luzon disrupted the inner core of Utor, reducing the storm to Category 2 strength with winds of 100 mph. Satellite imagery shows that the typhoon is re-organizing, and a new eyewall is forming. 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. These favorable conditions for intensification will last until the typhoon gets midway between the Philippines and China, where wind shear will rise to the moderate range and ocean waters will cool to 29°C with a much lower heat content. I expect Utor will intensify into a Category 3 storm today, and make landfall in China as a Category 2 or 3 storm about 200 hundred miles southwest of Hong Kong about 06 UTC on Wednesday. Utor is a very wet storm, and will likely bring a large swath of 8+ inches of rain across Southeast China on Wednesday. These rains will cause dangerous flash flooding and mudslides.

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. Utor reached super typhoon status with 150 mph winds on Sunday, making 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.


Video 1. News video of the damage from Typhoon Utor in Casiguran in the Philippines. Utor is being called Typhoon Labuyo locally in the Philippines. Thanks to wunderground member AussieStorm for posting this in my blog comments.

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)

Activity possible late this week in the Gulf of Mexico
A tropical wave in the Central to Eastern Caribbean is kicking up disorganized heavy thunderstorms as it heads westwards. Wind shear is a very high 40 knots over the region, and the wave is not a threat to develop for the next two days. However, once the wave reaches the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, some of the models are suggesting that the wave will find a region with lower wind shear, and a strong tropical disturbance capable of becoming a tropical storm could form near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula or farther north in the Gulf of Mexico. If it penetrates far enough into the northern Gulf of Mexico, the tropical wave could interact with a stalled cold front expected to push off the Southeast U.S. coast late this week. This interaction could produce a hybrid low pressure system that might be partially tropical, and capable of bringing heavy rains to the Southeast U.S. on Saturday and Sunday. In their 8 am EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the system a 20% of developing by Saturday, and a 0% chance of developing by Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

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1339. ncstorm
a lot of people dont know but Drakeon and Levi are really good friends..they even visit each other from time to time..

Drakeon and Levi in Alaska doing some fishing..


Levi taking in the water with Drakeon in Miami


Even laughing at some of the comments on this blog..




Disclaimor: actors were paid to portray Levi and Drakeon to protect their identity :)
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16042
Quoting 1319. ncstorm:
this is setting up a round two of Debby goes west or east but except its Erin this time..Euro vs GFS...which shall prevail?
The ECMWF depicts a broad system that never consolidates much and takes the southern low as the main low and crashes it into Central America, whereas the GFS takes the northern low as the main low and links it up with the front. I would take the GFS in a situations like this because we may have on our hands another shallow system and tends to show it better on the higher resolution grid.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8684
Quoting 1329. GTstormChaserCaleb:
One can discern the trough axis and draw it through the middle of the isobars here. It would extend down from the Western Gulf up towards the north gulf coast and Tennessee Valley.




Always pay attention to the high pressure (mostly north and east of a system). No storm, even a large one, can penetrate 1016mb of high pressure. Read the surface maps, watch the loops, especially water vapor. You will find the track.
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1336. Grothar
Quoting 1325. CybrTeddy:


"When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not!" - Grotha--erm, Yoda.


It has to go north. The ECMWF will change. It has not taken the circulation in the Southeast into enough consideration. This system has the possibility of become a little stronger than the models have.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26897
1335. Drakoen
Upper level low slow retrograding westward across the Gulf of Mexico which is allowing upper level ridging to slowly build across the central Caribbean. The shear tendency maps agree with this as well showing shear slowly subsiding. Water vapor imagery also showing there is lots of moisture to work with so it's a matter of whether or not a low level circulation can get organized.

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1334. Relix
Quoting 1330. VAbeachhurricanes:


Dang haven't seen you on here in forever!


Its a reunion! hah!
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Quoting 1331. HurrMichaelOrl:


I agree, send it to Texas. If that is an impossibility, it wouldn't do East Central FL any harm overall to get a moderately wet tropical storm (though this system will not be anywhere near the FL East Coast).

I'll pass I have a huge sinkhole across the street from me that is the last thing I need.
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Quoting 1322. CybrTeddy:


Oh snap.


2 giants slugging it out, ill watch from the sidelides.
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Quoting 1241. 69Viking:


Please NO! NW Florida is too water logged already, we don't need it, send it to Texas!


I agree, send it to Texas. If that is an impossibility, it wouldn't do East Central FL any harm overall to get a moderately wet tropical storm (though this system will not be anywhere near the FL East Coast).
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Quoting 1326. Relix:
Wow lots of old timers here. We even have a Levi vs Drak discussion going on! Finally.... I wait one year for this haha! Good night everybody. Looking at that wave around 30W and Blobzilla; maybe they could pull something out.


Dang haven't seen you on here in forever!
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One can discern the trough axis and draw it through the middle of the isobars here. It would extend down from the Western Gulf up towards the north gulf coast and Tennessee Valley.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8684
1328. Levi32
Quoting 1321. Drakoen:


This is my final post on this. No I don't need correction. I know how to read maps, since I have already completed the meteorology portion of my degree. The 925mb and 850mb Height contour maps with wind vectors on Wunderground, clearly depicted a closed 925mb and 850mb low over the southeastern U.S. You can even compared the heights with the GFS and it reveals a similar pattern.


You changed your argument. The existence of a cyclonic trough over the SE US is not in dispute. You said the ECMWF showed a similar feature to the GFS. I said it showed a dissimilar feature because the SE US trough, although it exists on both models, only becomes a full meridional break in the low-level ridge on the GFS. On the ECMWF, this does not occur. You took exception to that difference when I pointed it out, and then I clarified that it does exist. Case closed.
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1327. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1326. Relix
Wow lots of old timers here. We even have a Levi vs Drak discussion going on! Finally.... I wait one year for this haha! Good night everybody. Looking at that wave around 30W and Blobzilla; maybe they could pull something out.
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Quoting 1318. moonlightcowboy:



Keep calm, GT, and use the force! ;)





"When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not!" - Grotha--erm, Yoda.
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Now this is classic WU
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Can you imagine being able to wager on storms.

landfall or even over/under on pressure.

What do you folks think on our potential system

Over/Under 990Mb :)
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 93
Quoting 1306. Drakoen:


I don't need correction. Go back and look at the 925mb and 850mb maps. It is obvious there exists a cyclonic circulation over the southeastern United States.


Oh snap.
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1321. Drakoen
Quoting 1310. Levi32:


Yes you do. The ECMWF has a ridge between the two features.



A strengthening TS at 20N near the Yucatan coast would likely bust northward either way, but I contend anything south of that is just as likely to slip west with the prevailing easterly flow.


This is my final post on this. No I don't need correction. I know how to read maps, since I have already completed the meteorology portion of my degree. The 925mb and 850mb Height contour maps with wind vectors on Wunderground, clearly depicted a closed 925mb and 850mb low over the southeastern U.S. You can even compared the heights with the GFS and it reveals a similar pattern.
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1320. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting 1318. moonlightcowboy:




Keep calm, GT, and use the force! ;)




come to the dark side we have cookies
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1319. ncstorm
this is setting up a round two of Debby goes west or east but except its Erin this time..Euro vs GFS...which shall prevail?
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16042
Quoting 1311. GTstormChaserCaleb:
I agree with the FIM-9 strength. It could get stronger depending on what it does in the Western Caribbean, and I would not rule out a Cat. 1 hurricane. I think we will continue to see a shift in track to the right under a deep layered trough.



Keep calm, GT, and use the force! ;)



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1317. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1316. Levi32
Quoting 1302. DDR:
Hello all
Levi can you post the atlantic precip maps for me? TIA


You're a little early. Another week and this month's forecasts will be out. They aren't yet.
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1315. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting 1313. wunderkidcayman:


I was wondering where you were
been here had dinner took a little nap
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From First Choice Weather 60 PERCENT... OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS THIS IS NOT FROM THE NHC
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Quoting 1307. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
XX/AOI/XXL


I was wondering where you were
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1312. beell
Quoting 1296. Levi32:


I agree if the main low associated with our wave develops near Cancun by that time. If it's farther south than that, however, I think it's much more fuzzy. Monsoonal-type lows buried near the southern Yucatan Peninsula are notoriously difficult to drag out of the darkness. The 12z ECMWF maintains a low-level ridge, albeit a weak one, across the gulf at 72-96hr. We won't know until we get there, I guess.





You are most correct, Levi. We ain't there yet. A curiosity in a couple of model runs at this point.

And we all have watched many a broad monsoonal circulation just keep on drifting west into the Pacific. But going back to the "is it a wave or is it ain't" discussion from a couple days ago, I think you called it correctly. The broad, cyclonic 700 mb circulation entered the Caribbean from the Atlantic so it may not follow that path. The weakly modeled monsoon may certainly be enhanced by this wave and play a part in providing latent heat, moisture, and upward motion.



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I agree with the FIM-9 strength. It could get stronger depending on what it does in the Western Caribbean, and I would not rule out a Cat. 1 hurricane. I think we will continue to see a shift in track to the right under a deep layered trough.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8684
1310. Levi32
Quoting 1306. Drakoen:


I don't need correction. Go back and look at the 925mb and 850mb maps. It is obvious there exists a cyclonic circulation over the southeastern United States.


Yes you do. The ECMWF has a ridge between the two features.



A strengthening TS at 20N near the Yucatan coast would likely bust northward either way, but I contend anything south of that is just as likely to slip west with the prevailing easterly flow.
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Quoting 1304. tropicfreak:
Shear around the AOI has definitely been on the decrease.



Doesn't look too shabby for 10%. It appears on satellite imagery that a low may be forming south of Hispanola.


100% agree
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Drakoen and Levi both here. Need Jedkins too for what I have in mind.
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1307. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
XX/AOI/XXL
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1306. Drakoen
Quoting 1303. Levi32:


The ECMWF depicts a weak low-level ridge across the gulf, not a meridional trough as on the GFS.


I don't need correction. Go back and look at the 925mb and 850mb maps. It is obvious there exists a cyclonic circulation over the southeastern United States.
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1305. TXCWC
Quoting 1297. wunderkidcayman:

you are very very very late


Some do not read back 130+ posts ago...in any case who cares, as long as not posting multiple times in a row the same thing on the same pg...and even in that case, so what, as long as within the rules of the blog...anyway - back to the weather/tropics :)
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Shear around the AOI has definitely been on the decrease.



Doesn't look too shabby for 10%. It appears on satellite imagery that a low may be forming south or SSW of Hispanola, and is beginning to consolidate.

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1303. Levi32
Quoting 1299. Drakoen:


The ECMWF 12z has a similar feature as well which reinforces the idea that should this system get going the door will be open the lower levels for it to move poleward.


The ECMWF depicts a weak low-level ridge across the gulf, not a meridional trough as on the GFS.
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1302. DDR
Hello all
Levi can you post the atlantic precip maps for me? TIA
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It's almost the witching hour on the ides of August at the Cape Verde islands. Time for a good storm-casting spell.

Anything interesting on the model runs?
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1300. DDR
Quoting TampaSpin:

South America :)
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1299. Drakoen
Quoting 1286. beell:
One little curiosity noted in today's 12Z and 18Z GFS operational model runs. As the initial troughing pulls out to the NE, the model wants to leave a weak low-level circulation right on the gulf coast. This feature appears to be independent of any activity farther south. This may indicate that the weakness will also be present in the low levels as this disturbance moves out into the Gulf of Mexico. If development is indeed slow to occur, a weakness in the lower troposphere would almost guarantee a system tracking more north towards the central gulf coast.


08/12 12Z GFS 850 mb heights-Valid @ 60 hrs

The model plays a bit of a peek-a-boo game with this "closed low" but is fairly consistent in a weakness extending from the gulf coast towards the N or NNE.


08/12 12Z GFS 850 mb heights-Valid @ 84 hrs

It has been a fairly common occurrence this summer to see a disturbance or inverted trough get trapped south of the ridge over the southern US and drift slowly to the west. Usually, this type of disturbance is a bit stronger and a bit deeper layered than shown here. And I've not really seen this particular setup this Spring and Summer-so a grain of salt and something to consider for a bit. But if our yet undeveloped Caribbean disturbance does manage to pass close to or through the Yucatan channel, there is a good chance that the track will shift a bit father to the west with the slowly, westward drifting 850 mb ridge weakness until a saggy, baggy upper level shortwave trough arrives over the western gulf.


The ECMWF 12z has a similar feature as well which reinforces the idea that should this system get going the door will be open the lower levels for it to move poleward.
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Ok, Drakeon has at last appeared, it's cranking up, and I trust his tropical wisdom too. And so, I'm off y'all to lurk, maybe for the rest of the season. Pay attention, these guys will hone this stuff in if you'll observe and listen. ;)

Thanks, y'all. We're in the heart of the season. All wise hands on deck, get this hammered out! ;)

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Quoting 1291. TXCWC:
"...NEAR 10 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS."




you are very very very late
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1296. Levi32
Quoting 1286. beell:
One little curiosity noted in today's 12Z and 18Z GFS operational model runs. As the initial troughing pulls out to the NE, the model wants to leave a weak low-level circulation right on the gulf coast. This feature appears to be independent of any activity farther south. This may indicate that the weakness will also be present in the low levels as this disturbance moves out into the Gulf of Mexico. If development is indeed slow to occur, a weakness in the lower troposphere would almost guarantee a system tracking more north towards the central gulf coast.


08/12 12Z GFS 850 mb heights-Valid @ 60 hrs

The model plays a bit of a peek-a-boo game with this "closed low" but is fairly consistent in a weakness extending from the gulf coast towards the N or NNE.


08/12 12Z GFS 850 mb heights-Valid @ 84 hrs

It has been a fairly common occurrence this summer to see a disturbance or inverted trough get trapped south of the ridge over the southern US and drift slowly to the west. Usually, this type of disturbance is a bit stronger and a bit deeper layered than shown here. And I've not really seen this particular setup this spring and Summer-so a grain of salt and something to consider for a bit. But if our yet undeveloped Caribbean disturbance does manage to pass close to or through the Yucatan channel, there is a good chance that the track will shift a bit father to the west with the slowly, westward drifting 850 mb ridge weakness until a saggy, baggy upper level shortwave trough arrives over the western gulf.


I agree if the main low associated with our wave develops near Cancun by that time. If it's farther south than that, however, I think it's much more fuzzy. Monsoonal-type lows buried near the southern Yucatan Peninsula are notoriously difficult to drag out of the deep. The 12z ECMWF maintains a low-level ridge, albeit a weak one, across the gulf at 72-96hr. We won't know until we get there, I guess.



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1295. beell
Quoting 1290. moonlightcowboy:


Beell <----------------what he said! ;)


If you include all that in with the range of possible outcomes, for a bit anyway,...I'm good.
Thx.
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Quoting 1238. 69Viking:


Wow, some of the old regulars showing up tonight, guess we know something might possibly be brewing close to home! Good evening everyone!
It is very welcome! Has anybody heard from hahaguy?
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Quoting 1272. whitewabit:


click on the magnifying glass in the banner and you should be able to set it for your location ..


Ah, thank you. There seems to be a dense fog advisory in Ann Arbor right now. :)
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 253
"Discussionese" definitely seems to be the language this season. And, Beell, imo, does it best! ;)
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1291. TXCWC
"...NEAR 10 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS."



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Quoting 1286. beell:
But if our yet undeveloped Caribbean disturbance does manage to pass close to or through the Yucatan channel, there is a good chance that the track will shift a bit father to the west with the slowly, westward drifting 850 mb ridge weakness until a saggy, baggy upper level shortwave trough arrives over the western gulf.


Beell <----------------what he said! ;)
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Quoting Grothar:
I'll be off for awhile. I have to watch "Under the Gnome"


"Barface" is on for me
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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.