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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LOL Ric I sure as heck do not want to see Tampa's clocked clean because if that happened there's a good chance I would not have a home any more. Maybe you could start pulling chest hair's out :))


ALL 5 OF THEM
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538. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 532. hurricanehanna:


I think many chose not to believe how strong it really was and took their chances... hopefully a mistake that won't be repeated.


they did .. many of the people we warned in person flat told us they were not leaving .. many in the initial 6 blocks off the coast (I90) which was all completely destroyed .. and those people perished and some were never found ..
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this happened today near Orlando..alot of rain brings sinkhole dangers also...
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Quoting 526. stormpetrol:


Hi there

I looked at that pass but it would appear that the area of interest we are watching is to the NE of there. The surface feature seen in the ASCAT may be moving away to the West into the Pacific while the area near 77 W and 13 N tries to organise as our AOI

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meanwhile here the west coast seabreeze is trying to form some rain..some nice heavy clouds on top of me here..
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Quoting 520. whitewabit:


agree that this is just an average trough .. but what has been unusual is the length of time the central part of the US has been below normal ..(Central Illinois)


True that, it's definitely an odd year. Two years ago we went the whole month of July without a drop of rain in the Fort Walton Beach area and this year we picked up 20 - 25 inches of rain depending on your exact location.
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Quoting 525. Levi32:


I'll have one out in a few hours. I'm back in Alaska so it's still early in the day for me. I'm still absorbing data.


Looking forward to it!
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Quoting 501. whitewabit:


It was no surprise .. the coast had over 2 - 3 days warning .. which at that time was about average ..


I think many chose not to believe how strong it really was and took their chances... hopefully a mistake that won't be repeated.
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Quoting 525. Levi32:


I'll have one out in a few hours. I'm back in Alaska so it's still early in the day for me. I'm still absorbing data.


Awesome! I look forward to it!
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Quoting 346. rmbjoe1954:


I think he meant Harpo, lol. There was also Chico, Groucho, Zeppo and Karl, the black sheep of the family.


Don't forget Gummo!
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Apparently an anti-cyclone is developing in the SW Caribbean.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8566
Good afternoon folks

It looks like the quiet period is winding down with an area of disturbed weather brewing in the SW Caribbean. As usual timing will mean everything with this system. It will need to move fairly slowly for a while to give current shear time to die down but that would mean longer to develop and then pass over very high TCHP values in the process.

The best scenario would be for this to remain as a rain maker for as long as possible failing which the potential exists for it to become quite nasty.It is sitting over a hot spot at the moment but heat content alone will not drive this unless other conditions align as well.

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Quoting 522. Dragod66:


New tropical tidbit soon? I know you are busy but they are just so great!


I'll have one out in a few hours. I'm back in Alaska so it's still early in the day for me. I'm still absorbing data.
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Quoting 481. Levi32:


It would take a very special timetable to get this thing into Texas now. This is more than likely a Mexico or central-eastern gulf coast storm, I think.


Indeed, considering there is a complex scenario involved and a tropical cyclone doesn't actually exist yet, there is still a great number of possible outcomes.

However, as I mentioned yesterday, overall steering seems consistent with a system that will either steer far enough south and west, such that it stays west and misses the westerlies from the trough and thus moving into Mexico, or it tracks significantly further east as a result of feeling influencing from the relatively deep southeast trough pattern that has dominated much of this summer.

Its going to be a tricky forecast if anything develops, but its going to be fun to track for the same reason.
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I have a question about the five day Tropical Weather Outlooks for this possible area.

How is NHC getting 20 percent chance of development in five days? Basically, they are saying this will not develop. Are they confident it wont develop?
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Quoting 507. Levi32:


I lived in Oklahoma this summer and our average high in July is 92°F. We had 6 days during the month of July where the high temperature was at least 10°F below the normal high for that date, from 3 separate troughs. It's called a cool-down. It happens. The rarity of weather tends to get exaggerated these days. We've had people treating perfectly average Texas heat like a rare heat wave this summer. It's getting ridiculous.


New tropical tidbit soon? I know you are busy but they are just so great!
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Quoting 442. 69Viking:


I think this year for our area we should add 50% on top of whatever forecast they give which means today we really have about a 70% chance of getting rain.

That's probably about right. lol
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520. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 508. 69Viking:


Back in July a trough brought 60's for highs and 40's for lows in Minnesota, that was a strong trough. I have to agree with Levi on this, this is an average trough at best. Minneapolis still hits 79 for a high on this map.


agree that this is just an average trough .. but what has been unusual is the length of time the central part of the US has been below normal ..(Central Illinois)
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Afternoon all! It appears we might have at least something to watch.

Strong upper level winds are very evident as the cloudtops in the upper levels are being sheared off to the east.

Firing some consistent convection, though.

Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting 475. StormTrackerScott:


This system will actually have an anticyclone over head in the SE & C Gulf. Could have a much stronger system than many what many people thinks on here.




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Quoting 513. hurricanes2018:



what happern!!

I don't like that high in se canada that shuts off trough progress off coast and very dangerous pattern!
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Quoting 501. whitewabit:


It was no surprise .. the coast had over 2 - 3 days warning .. which at that time was about average ..
That sounds like a pretty good timeframe to pack your stuff up and get out of the way.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8566
Quoting 497. StormTrackerScott:
These highs on Friday are unheard of across the Mississippi & Tennessee Valley's. Let me guess not a strong trough right. Yeah Ok.



My local NWS in Raleigh NC has 70's in my forecast for this weekend...thats a pretty far cry from last year or the last few years where we are normally sitting at or around 95F.
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Quoting 506. StormTrackerScott:



what happern!!
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Quoting 496. FtMyersgal:
Tomorrow is the 9th anniversary of Hurricane Charley
I was just finishing school that day and remember being in band class having to store all the instruments in the middle of the room. The buzz around the school was Charley. I was very anxious for that storm and was only 14 years old. Now every time I see a storm pull up from the Western Caribbean and into the GOM I feel this adrenaline rush knowing that one day the Tampa Bay area will not be as lucky. Whether that is this year, next year, 50 years, or a 100 years from now there is no telling, but even a Category 1 Hurricane would be bad for this area, we share similar characteristics to NOLA in terms of the flat land and low lying areas, only difference is we don't have a leevee system.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8566
Quoting 459. StormTrackerScott:


To have a trough like this deep move down in August is rare. Very cool air diving south this week. So yes.



in a few weeks from now no more trough
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THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST
FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
ONLY ISOLATED TO WIDELY SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED LATER
THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. THE BEST CHANCE FOR THUNDERSTORMS WILL
BE OVER INTERIOR LEVY AND CITRUS COUNTIES. NO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
ARE EXPECTED...BUT ALL THUNDERSTORMS CAN CONTAIN DEADLY CLOUD TO
GROUND LIGHTNING.

...HEAT IMPACT...
DRY AIR ALOFT WILL RESULT IN MOSTLY SUNNY SKIES AND HOT
TEMPERATURES THIS AFTERNOON. THE HEAT INDEX WILL CLIMB TO BETWEEN
100 AND 105 DEGREES.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...TUESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
A TROPICAL WAVE IS FORECAST TO MOVE FROM THE CARIBBEAN SEA TO THE
GULF OF MEXICO ON THURSDAY. THIS WAVE WILL INCREASE OUR MOISTURE
RESULTING IN MORE NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS FOR THE END
OF THE WEEK.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION WILL NOT BE NEEDED TODAY.

$$
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Quoting 505. LargoFl:
gee I wish we here had a high of 72


I'd settle for 82 at this point
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Quoting 497. StormTrackerScott:
These highs on Friday are unheard of across the Mississippi & Tennessee Valley's. Let me guess not a strong trough right. Yeah Ok.



Back in July a trough brought 60's for highs and 40's for lows in Minnesota, that was a strong trough. I have to agree with Levi on this, this is an average trough at best. Minneapolis still hits 79 for a high on this map.
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Quoting 480. StormTrackerScott:


Levi, I mean really upper 70's in Nashville in? August isn't rare. Come on man. Normal highs are in the upper 80's to low 90's.


I lived in Oklahoma this summer and our average high in July is 92°F. We had 6 days during the month of July where the high temperature was at least 10°F below the normal high for that date, from 3 separate troughs. It's called a cool-down. It happens. The rarity of weather tends to get exaggerated these days. We've had people treating perfectly average Texas heat like a rare heat wave this summer. It's getting ridiculous.
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Quoting 497. StormTrackerScott:
These highs on Friday are unheard of across the Mississippi & Tennessee Valley's. Let me guess not a strong trough right. Yeah Ok.

gee I wish we here had a high of 72
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Quoting 341. Grothar:


Cheeching and Chonging!


Thank you class
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5234
Quoting 339. Grothar:



Looking kinda juicy in the Caribbean?
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Quoting 491. TylerStanfield:

You don't have to say you're right or point out people's mistakes about everything. There are people much more educated about weather then you are, on this blog. It's fine to disagree with other's thoughts but don't make every post a fight to get your opinion into someone else's forecast/thoughts...
That is all.


Levi is the one who was acting snide first and I replied back.
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501. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 484. LargoFl:
and this coming weekend is the anniversary of Camille..That one surprised folks also...


It was no surprise .. the coast had over 2 - 3 days warning .. which at that time was about average ..
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Quoting 473. Levi32:


I don't agree that 5-6 °C below normal temperatures in the mid-US during the summer is rare.



I tend to agree. I just looked at our 10 day Forecast and highs will still be a muggy 85 with lows a muggy 75 on our coolest days. Show me lows in the 60's along the FL Panhandle and then you know it's a stong front.
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I think the best case analog is Opal 1995 here with it coming into yucatan and then forming in the gulf and moving ne ahead of the large trough and the west atlantic ridge !!
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My first guess for this, is a disorganized tropical cyclone with winds of 40-50 MPH. With heavy rain.
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These highs on Friday are unheard of across the Mississippi & Tennessee Valley's. Let me guess not a strong trough right. Yeah Ok.

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Tomorrow is the 9th anniversary of Hurricane Charley
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Quoting 486. Camille33:

1001 on nam
The strongest yet the NAM shows this system, but one would think the stronger the storm the more poleward, especially if we are involving a trough in the picture.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8566
Quoting 361. Levi32:


Some humans even beat the FIM.... :)


Computers are great for storing lots of data and calculating thinks quickly, however, they do not have the intelligence needed to forecast properly. Humans will always trump computers this way.

One could argue that the computer is a necessary "partner" in science, but is pretty helpless without the guidance of human intelligence.


It's a funny thing that the very thing we so desperately need to advance in science such as meteorology, the computer, is the very thing that can do us in. We can come be lazy and let the computer do the "thinking" when its really there simply to do the dirty work. Its our job to think and improve...

As a student in a meteorology program, I want to stress that I am by NO MEANS saying that need to throw out computers models or lessen their role in forecasting. However what I am saying, is that we must not let technology cause us to be lazy such that it goes from being a powerful tool in science such as meteorology, to becoming something that causes us to become both physically and mentally inept.
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and this coming weekend is the anniversary of Camille..That one surprised folks also...


very true...however....the science of forecasting has greatly improved
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Quoting 472. ricderr:
If it is a lopsided storm then the west coast could get some impacts.



ok...we finally have a blob.....we still don't know if it will develop....we have differing models stating differing strengths....differing tracks...and now...we're guestimating if it will be lopsided r not all for the hopes that tampa will finally get their clock cleaned?

my freaking gawdddd.......thank the lord i have no hair to pull out


LOL Ric I sure as heck do not want to see Tampa's clocked clean because if that happened there's a good chance I would not have a home any more. Maybe you could start pulling chest hair's out :))
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Quoting 480. StormTrackerScott:


Levi, I mean really upper 70's in Nashville in? August isn't rare. Come on man. Normal highs are in the upper 80's to low 90's.

You don't have to say you're right or point out people's mistakes about everything. There are people much more educated about weather then you are, on this blog. It's fine to disagree with other's thoughts but don't make every post a fight to get your opinion into someone else's forecast/thoughts...
That is all.
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Just to echo some of the voices on here the sooner this thing develops the better the chances of it being a more significant storm in the GOM, the longer it takes the less likely of a chance it amounts to much more than a weak TS. Regardless the biggest impact will be rainfall leading to some flooding and an increase risk of tornadoes as it links up with the front.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8566
models schmodels.....just play it safe. ALWAYS have beer and beef jerky on hand :)
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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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