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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2 different features....2 different tracks....if the Northern feature comes together then its a Gulf of Mexico system....if the southern feature is the dominate system then it moves toward Mexico.


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Quoting 932. Grothar:


Don't drive in that. It's not worth it. Stop in some gas station and have a beef Stroganoff out of one of the vending machines. It's much safer.


Stroganoff is much too risky for me. The gas station sushi is the way to go!

*added* The dust-covered wrappings show which ones have the best flavor ;)
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Quoting 933. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Weak TS on this run.



Looks more like a TD.
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Consolidation at 129 hours!

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Quoting 933. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Weak TS on this run.




0Z will be stronger
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GFS not taking it too far:

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Weak TS on this run.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8029
Quoting 918. DonnieBwkGA:
My severe storm warming red bar has changed to an 'areal flood advisory'

*looks out window*

Yeah. Whoever didn't see THAT coming is an inDUHvidual.


Don't drive in that. It's not worth it. Stop in some gas station and have a beef Stroganoff out of one of the vending machines. It's much safer.
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Quoting 891. DonnieBwkGA:


I've been tracking that since Ethiopia 4 days ago.
If we lose Blobzilla to SAL, we really have only two choices:

1. Pave the Sahara. Stop this madness!!

2. Shut the blog down....move on to next season.

Thursday/Friday could be my last day here till next year if Blobzilla is lost.
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GFS wants to spin up Erin by the Cape Verde islands before it does the GOMEX storm.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23858
18 hours later the five lows are still there! I wasn't expecting that. Now I want to go to Five Guys for dinner.

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Quoting 923. DonnieBwkGA:
Grothar looks like blobzilla turns into 5 lows in the tropical Atlantic. Will one consolidate?



It is not unusual to have a train of lows in the Atlantic. Many times there are multiple lows in the Caribbean, which may be a possibility over the next few days.
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18z GFS was very weak, probably a TD at best.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7725

Quoting 924. GTstormChaserCaleb:
1009 mb. low nearing the coast again convection looks heavily weighted to the east:

Pretty darn close to the low, so it's not an exposed CoC.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23858
1009 mb. low nearing the coast again convection looks heavily weighted to the east:

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8029
Grothar looks like blobzilla turns into 5 lows in the tropical Atlantic. Will one consolidate?

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Quoting 913. Hurricanes305:


After seeing Chantal and Dorian strengthen in much worse conditional environments to a strong TS at 60mph. I would not surprise if it flirts with hurricane status but that is speculation on my part still need a low before giving a high confidence forecast.

Scenario is similar to Andrea, though conditions will be a tad more ripe for some intensification so Hurricane Status is not out of the question... Keep in mind this thing hasn't even been tagged an invest, so the forecast skill with most things right now is pretty low.
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99 hrs.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8029
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37860
My severe storm warming red bar has changed to an 'areal flood advisory'

*looks out window*

Yeah. Whoever didn't see THAT coming is an inDUHvidual.
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Quoting 915. Grothar:
I can see where the confusion may have been with the models.



HMM....maybe 2 storms in 5 days
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Quoting 900. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Coming together here?



looks east.
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I can see where the confusion may have been with the models.

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A hint of trouble at the Yucatan.

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Quoting 899. TylerStanfield:

The trough is going to break down the anticyclone overhead of the system once it makes it into the central gulf, so whatever the intensity of the system is once it gets there is going to be right around where it tops off at. Once it gets into the Central Gulf the trough will begin to shear it and the Anticyclone wont be able to protect it, making it lopsided...
I would only foresee a minimal hurricane out of this, at best. It will more than likely remain a tropical storm, but things in the NW Caribbean and Gulf should never be discounted.


After seeing Chantal and Dorian strengthen in much worse conditional environments to a strong TS at 60mph. I would not surprise if it flirts with hurricane status but that is speculation on my part still need a low before giving a high confidence forecast.
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NAVGEM floods me. Yay.

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Quoting 907. DonnieBwkGA:
Up to 69 hours in the GFS-full res. Lots of moisture, not much low.



18Z pay it no attention.
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The GEM at 30 hours. A Caribbean beginning?

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Quoting 830. marcuskyle:
just wayched our local weather and they discussing this mess... they just said that anything is anything that comes of it will most likely head into b.o.c. then mexico far south of texas

*Facepalm*

It's a possibility, but that's if the system remains disorganized and very weak for the next 5 days...
The models are forecasting the system to get it's act together and being lifting more NW and then into the Gulf.
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Quoting 904. marcuskyle:
according to local weather its gonna head into the boc then mexico but im sure anything could happen


Florida to Mexico should monitor this
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Up to 69 hours in the GFS-full res. Lots of moisture, not much low.

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Quoting 902. weatherlover94:


Not good. The only thing I see that would hinder this is it develops, hits the Yucatan and dies...but if it misses the Yucatan anything could happen


The Yucatan is flat.....NOTHING dies over the Yucatan very rarely.
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This run is only up to 54 hours but the tropical Atlantic is amazingly moist. I think that's the low moving offshore. I'll get back to that.

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903. IKE

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting 885. wunderkidcayman:
in 48 hours shear won't be a problem in W Caribbean



Not good. The only thing I see that would hinder this is it develops, hits the Yucatan and dies...but if it misses the Yucatan anything could happen
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Quoting 896. Grothar:


I remember when you posted the first image.


It's been looking so awesome hasn't it! I'm going to tropicaltidbits and see what the models do with it. Really have nothing else to do since I'm NOT driving home until the storm is over. The parking lot is long, and my truck is a long way off.
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Coming together here?



Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8029
Quoting 809. washingtonian115:
Things would have to perfectly align themselves in order to see anything 100+mph.I think that if this disturbance misses land and slows down a bit with shear not being a major problem then perhaps a strong tropical storm or minimal hurricane (74-80mph).

The trough is going to break down the anticyclone overhead of the system once it makes it into the central gulf, so whatever the intensity of the system is once it gets there is going to be right around where it tops off at. Once it gets into the Central Gulf the trough will begin to shear it and the Anticyclone wont be able to protect it, making it lopsided...
I would only foresee a minimal hurricane out of this, at best. It will more than likely remain a tropical storm, but things in the NW Caribbean and Gulf should never be discounted.
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Quoting 891. DonnieBwkGA:


I've been tracking that since Ethiopia 4 days ago.


I remember when you posted the first image.
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Forecast: Two hurricane landfalls for U.S. this season
Doyle Rice, USA TODAY 10:11 p.m. EDT August 1, 2013
One of the hurricanes should hit the East Coast, and another somewhere along the Gulf Coast.

This is the first forecast that predicts the specific number of hurricane landfalls
Coastal Carolina says that 13-17 named tropical storms will form, of which 6 to 9 will be hurricanes
The new model system will also predict the track and intensity of any incoming hurricanes

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The U.S. should be slammed by two hurricanes this season, according to a new forecast released Thursday by scientists at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C.

This is the first forecast that predicts the specific number of hurricane landfalls the nation should see; up until now, preseason hurricane predictions have traditionally been only for the number of hurricanes that are expected to form.

One of the hurricanes should hit the East Coast, and another somewhere along the Gulf Coast, reports atmospheric scientist Len Pietrafesa of CCU. The forecast does not say specifically where the hurricanes will hit, nor when.

Based on past weather records dating to 1950, the East Coast gets hit roughly once every other year by a hurricane, while the Gulf Coast sees one per year.

The forecasting team at Coastal Carolina says that 13-17 named tropical storms will form, of which six to nine will be hurricanes. A tropical storm has winds from 39 to 73 mph, while hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of at least 74 mph.

A typical season sees 12 named tropical storms, of which six are hurricanes. Other top forecasting teams also have predicted an active season. So far this year, four tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic, but no hurricanes have, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The forecast comes from a new computer model, which is dubbed the "Hurricane Genesis and Outlook" (HUGO) project. Pietrafesa says the model works by incorporating several current atmospheric and oceanic conditions, and then looks back throughout recorded hurricane history to find a year with similar weather conditions. Once it finds a year that's similar, it determines how many hurricanes made landfall that season and uses that to make the current forecast.

The HUGO model also works with other existing federal government models to come up with the forecast.

Admittedly, "it is much more difficult to predict landfall counts than overall hurricane activity," according to a Coastal Carolina news release that accompanied the forecast.

In addition to the seasonal outlook, the new model system will also predict the track and intensity of any incoming hurricane five days away from landfall, similar to what the hurricane center does now.

The HUGO model system will provide specific data on likely storm surge and inundation as a hurricane approaches, including time, location and likely water depth along the coastline. This should assist emergency management officials in their logistical planning in the event of evacuations, according to Coastal Carolina.
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894. CJ5
There is elongated rotation just south of Haiti. This is the area to watch and sea temps in a general line west are ripe. I think there is a good chance a developing storm could miss the YP. If it develops this far north it will not be crossing CA. It will be interesting to watch over the next 72 hours.
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Quoting 879. ncstorm:
Farmers Almanac

August 2013
12th-15th. Threat of a tropical storm developing in the Gulf of Mexico.

16th-19th. Fair skies.
20th-23rd. Thunderstorms an ongoing threat.
24th-27th. Widespread thunderstorm activity continues.
28th-31st. Fair and pleasant for Mississippi Valley and points east; a tropical cyclone over the Atlantic should stay well offshore.

September 2013
1st-3rd. Scattered showers may dampen holiday plans, then fair.
4th-7th. Hurricane threat along the Atlantic seaboard; otherwise generally fair, very warm and humid.
8th-11th. Thundery conditions.
12th-15th. Showery rains spread to the north and east.
16th-19th. Thunderstorms along Gulf Coast. Rain for Tennessee east, then fair.
20th-23rd. Hot and oppressively humid.
24th-27th. Fair, turning much cooler for Mississippi Valley east.
28th-30th. Widespread showers for most of the Southeast.

October 2013
1st-3rd. Fair and cold; frosts invade parts of the Southeast.
4th-7th. Wet Tennessee Valley. Heavy rains Gulf States.


I hope this is Texas lol
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Quoting 880. Grothar:
Two more days until Blobzilla hits the Atlantic.




Wow that wave has maintain that same look from when it was over central African. This may bear watching after our Caribbean AOI runs its course.
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Quoting 880. Grothar:
Two more days until Blobzilla hits the Atlantic.




I've been tracking that since Ethiopia 4 days ago.
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Very dark and stormy now. We'll probably have more later this week.

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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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