Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Phailin Rapidly Intensifying, Headed Towards India

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:22 PM GMT on October 10, 2013

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Very dangerous Tropical Cyclone Phailin, in the North Indian Ocean's Bay of Bengal, has put on an impressive burst of rapid intensification, going from a tropical storm with 65 mph winds to a formidable Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds in just twelve hours. Satellite estimates of Phailin's strength at 8 am EDT ranged as high as 135 mph. Satellite images show that Phailin, whose name means "a sapphire" in Thai, continues to intensify. The cloud tops of the very intense thunderstorms in the eyewall are expanding and cooling, showing that their updrafts are growing stronger and pushing the clouds higher into the atmosphere. Water temperatures are warm, 28 - 29°C, and the ocean heat content is very high, 80 - 100 kJ/cm^2--a level often associated with rapid intensification. With wind shear low, Phailin should be able to continue to intensify until an eyewall replacement cycle begins. It is very difficult for a tropical cyclone to maintain an eye diameter less than ten miles across before the inner core grows unstable and the eyewall collapses, with a new, larger-diameter eyewall forming from an outer spiral band. This process typically weakens the top winds of a tropical cyclone by 5 - 15 mph, but spreads hurricane-force winds over a larger area of ocean, resulting a larger storm surge, but less wind damage. With Phailin's eye diameter already down to a tiny 9 miles, an eyewall replacement cycle is likely to occur by Friday morning.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phailin, taken at approximately 07:30 UTC on October 10, 2013. At the time, Phailin had top winds of 75 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Forecast for Phailin
The models are in tight agreement that Phailin will track northwest into the northeast coast of India, with landfall expected to occur between 06 - 12 UTC on Saturday. The 11 am EDT Thursday forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts that Phailin will peak as a top-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds 12 hours before landfall. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is predicting that Phailin will be a borderline Category 2/Category 3 storm at landfall. The 06Z Thursday run of the HWRF model predicted that Phailin would be a strong Category 3 storm with 130 mph winds at landfall on Saturday.


Figure 2. Storm surge forecast for Tropical Cyclone Phailin, made on October 10, 2013. The peak surge was predicted to be 87 cm (2.9'). This forecast is likely to be a considerable underestimate of the surge, given Phailin's recent rapid intensification. Image credit: IMD.

The Bay of Bengal is notorious for deadly tropical cyclones
There is good reason to be concerned when a major tropical cyclone forms in the Bay of Bengal. Twenty-six of the thirty-five deadliest tropical cyclones in world history have been Bay of Bengal storms. During the past two centuries, 42% of Earth's tropical cyclone-associated deaths have occurred in Bangladesh, and 27% have occurred in India (Nicholls et al., 1995.) Phailin is likely to be the strongest tropical cyclone to affect India in fourteen years, since the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone. That terrible storm hit Northeast India in the Indian state of Odisha (formerly called Orissa) near the city of Bhubaneswar, as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds on October 29, 1999. The mighty cyclone, which peaked at Category 5 strength with 160 mph winds and a 912 mb central pressure shortly before landfall, drove a storm surge of 26 feet (8 meters) onto the coast. The storm stalled just inland, dumping torrential rains on portions of India already saturated from the landfall of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone 04B just twelve days before. The catastrophe killed 9,658 people and left $2.5 billion in damage (1999 dollars), India's most expensive and fourth deadliest tropical cyclone in the past 100 years. Although Phailin is expected to hit the same province of India that the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone hit, Phailin's landfall location is predicted to fall about 100 miles farther to the south, in a region where the coast is not as low-lying. This should keep the death toll due to storm surge much lower compared to the 1999 Odisha Cyclone, where more than 70% of the deaths occurred due to the storm surge. The latest storm surge forecast from IMD (Figure 2) predicts a peak surge under 3', but this is much too low, considering Phailin's recent round of rapid intensification. Phailin's heavy rains will be capable of causing great destruction, as did the rains from the 1999 Odisha cyclone. More than 2,000 of the deaths from that storm occurred due to fresh water flooding in the town of Padmapur, located more than 150 miles from the coast. Deforestation was cited as a contributing cause to these destructive floods that killed 36% of the town's population.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a detailed post on India's tropical cyclone history.

References
Nicholls, R.J.N., N. Mimura, J.C. Topping, 1995, "Climate change in south and south-east Asia: some implications for coastal areas," J Glob Environ Eng 1995;1:137–54.



98L in the Eastern Atlantic more organized
A tropical wave (Invest 98L) located about 400 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands is headed west to west-northwest at about 10 mph. Satellite loops show that 98L has a modest area of heavy thunderstorms with a substantial amount of spin. The disturbance is under a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear today, but the shear is expected to rise to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, Friday - Monday, making Thursday the most likely day for development. The UKMET model develops the disturbance into a tropical depression this week, but the European and GFS models do not. In their 8 am EDT Thursday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the disturbance 2-day development odds of 50%, and 5-day odds of 50%. 98L's projected west-northwest track is expected take it several hundred miles northeast of the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands by the middle of next week, according to the 00Z Thursday morning runs of the GFS and European models.

Typhoon Nari headed towards the Philippines
In the Western Pacific, Category 1 Typhoon Nari is expected to intensify into a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds and make landfall on Luzon Island in the Philippines near 12 UTC Friday. Nari will then make a second landfall in Vietnam around 00 UTC on Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

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473. TampaSpin
10:59 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Severe Weather starting to pop in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas! Watch yourselves out there in the plains tonite. Could be a rough one!

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
472. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:59 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 471. whitewabit:


but even in the posh areas are the building codes strong enough for a major typhoon ??
not gonna matter wab anything within the point of eyewall contact will be stripped all gone nothing left or very little out side of that a varied of events less severe the further out or this case inland u are
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54623
471. whitewabit (Mod)
10:56 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 467. MrMixon:


Well, the area affected spans a pretty large portion of the eastern coast of India. Certainly at the mouths of some of the rivers there are probably mudflats, but there is also some pretty sharp terrain along that coast. I went to Google Maps and turned on the "Photos" layer to get an idea of what some of the infrastructure near the predicted landfall location looks like. This is a small sampling of what you'll find:













As you can see, the quality of the infrastructure in the landfall zone varies dramatically, from posh modern resorts to older thatched-roof buildings that probably wouldn't hold up well to a major.

Clearly, there isn't one word or phrase to describe the infrastructure in this area. Some is good. Some is old and likely vulnerable. Always gotta be careful painting with those broad brushes...


but even in the posh areas are the building codes strong enough for a major typhoon ??
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 364 Comments: 31610
470. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:56 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 469. allancalderini:
The wpac is back to business its producing strong storms one after another.
all of the most powerful cyclones on earth have formed in these regions
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54623
469. allancalderini
10:51 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 468. TropicalAnalystwx13:
Oh, and while we're at it, we might want to watch TD 25W. The JTWC has it becoming a 100kt cyclone at peak but the GFS makes it much more intense. The center track should be able to stay east of Japan, but there's a large cone of uncertainty.

The wpac is back to business its producing strong storms one after another.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4410
468. TropicalAnalystwx13
10:47 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Oh, and while we're at it, we might want to watch TD 25W. The JTWC has it becoming a 100kt cyclone at peak but the GFS makes it much more intense. The center track should be able to stay east of Japan, but there's a large cone of uncertainty.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32338
467. MrMixon
10:47 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 440. Astrometeor:

I don't think this particular area of India is a mud flat. Anyone have a geographical map?


Well, the area affected spans a pretty large portion of the eastern coast of India. Certainly at the mouths of some of the rivers there are probably mudflats, but there is also some pretty sharp terrain along that coast. I went to Google Maps and turned on the "Photos" layer to get an idea of what some of the infrastructure near the predicted landfall location looks like. This is a small sampling of what you'll find:













As you can see, the quality of the infrastructure in the landfall zone varies dramatically, from posh modern resorts to older thatched-roof buildings that probably wouldn't hold up well to a major.

Clearly, there isn't one word or phrase to describe the infrastructure in this area. Some is good. Some is old and likely vulnerable. Always gotta be careful painting with those broad brushes...
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
466. PlazaRed
10:47 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 463. Patrap:
We may have a Nargis type impact like we saw in Myanmar.

Probably going to have a devastating sea surge on up to a 200 mile front.
Not much high ground to cling too even if you have the inclination to seek it.
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2093
465. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
10:44 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Dvorak 5.5 from IMD website for 0230 AM IST advisory that will be release at around 0600 AM IST

100-105 knots
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45735
464. TropicalAnalystwx13
10:44 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Let's not forget about Nari. It's an 85kt cyclone headed for the Philippines.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32338
463. Patrap
10:43 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
We may have a Nargis type impact like we saw in Myanmar.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
462. PlazaRed
10:42 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 460. Patrap:
The Eye has shrunk some more.


Pat,
No matter which way you look at this, its a very nasty looking thing disguised in an almost perfect spiral.
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2093
461. hydrus
10:41 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21492
460. Patrap
10:37 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
The Eye has shrunk some more.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
459. Stoopid1
10:36 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 453. TropicalAnalystwx13:

The system won't be making landfall until Saturday afternoon. Assuming it starts an eyewall replacement cycle overnight like it should, that's plenty of time to become a very large cyclone.


Wouldn't that be tomorrow for them?
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2751
458. PlazaRed
10:36 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 451. whitewabit:


that close the to the shore it wouldn't have time to expand much if at all ..

From a shore dwellers point of view.
Would it make much difference?
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2093
457. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:36 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54623
456. Patrap
10:36 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
455. whitewabit (Mod)
10:35 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 452. allancalderini:
One word to describe Phailin.Stunning.


it has great inflow ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 364 Comments: 31610
454. Stoopid1
10:35 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Eye continues to contract;



Like TropicalAnalystwx said, this might be a negative factor since the coastal areas are at sea-level, and are so far a fair distance before the plateaus, and is a highly populated area.
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2751
453. TropicalAnalystwx13
10:35 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 451. whitewabit:


that close the to the shore it wouldn't have time to expand much if at all ..

The system won't be making landfall until Saturday afternoon. Assuming it starts an eyewall replacement cycle overnight like it should, that's plenty of time to become a very large cyclone.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32338
452. allancalderini
10:33 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
One word to describe Phailin.Stunning.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4410
451. whitewabit (Mod)
10:33 PM GMT on October 10, 2013
Quoting 449. TropicalAnalystwx13:
I don't know about you guys, but I hope this doesn't undergo an eyewall replacement cycle prior to landfall. It's a lose-lose situation for eastern India. If it doesn't undergo a cycle, it slams into the coastline with winds over 170 mph. If it does undergo an eyewall replacement cycle, winds come down a bit but the storm significantly expands in size...both increasing the storm surge and the number of population centers it impacts.


that close the to the shore it wouldn't have time to expand much if at all ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 364 Comments: 31610
450. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #20
Storm Warning
TROPICAL STORM WIPHA (T1326)
6:00 AM JST October 11 2013
======================================

Near Marianas Islands

At 21:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Wipha (996 hPa) located at 13.5N 142.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west slowly.

Gale Force Winds
================
180 NM from the center

Dvorak intensity: T2.5

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 15.4N 140.1E - 50 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) Marianas Islands
45 HRS: 17.1N 138.3E - 65 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) Sea East Of The Philippines
69 HRS: 18.9N 136.0E - 70 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) Sea East Of The Philippines
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45735
I don't know about you guys, but I hope this doesn't undergo an eyewall replacement cycle prior to landfall. It's a lose-lose situation for eastern India. If it doesn't undergo a cycle, it slams into the coastline with winds over 170 mph. If it does undergo an eyewall replacement cycle, winds come down a bit but the storm significantly expands in size...both increasing the storm surge and the number of population centers it impacts.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32338
Not really wanting to be the usual kill joy but!
Over the last few weeks quite a few bloggers have been moaning, whinging and complaining about the dull Atlantic season and how boring things are!
Well here is the alternative. The western Pacific and the Indian ocean regions seem to be countering the dullness of the Atlantic season.
Images and effects will be about the same,to what may be expected in the Atlantic regions, only geological locations will differ.
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2093
447. VR46L
Quoting 440. Astrometeor:


I think you're beating on a brick wall Hades, the criticism won't let up at all.



I don't think this particular area of India is a mud flat. Anyone have a geographical map?


Astro its sea level on these maps ...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 440. Astrometeor:


I think you're beating on a brick wall Hades, the criticism won't let up at all.



I don't think this particular area of India is a mud flat. Anyone have a geographical map?


Odisha;



Andhra;

Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2751
Anyway here is the India doppler radar page. I can't link individual sites. Visakhapatnam is the one we want but it is currently down. Maybe it will come up later. Machilipatnam is a little far south but may see some of the cyclone. Kolkata is a little far north but may see a bit also.
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its getting the 3d effect in ir
first full vis will be good to have
hopefully the day effect triggers an EWRC
and weakening trend
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54623
Meanwhile, Typhoon Nari is bearing down on the northern Philippines. Additional strengthening is expected before making landfall on Luzon in about 36 hours.


Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
I never really gave it much though on the IMD posting times. Good to know, thanks Hades.

In a case like this though, that really isn't acceptable.
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441. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
no problem
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45735
Quoting 435. HadesGodWyvern:
you guys have to realize that the IMD advisory are always 3-6 hours behind at times.

Reasons I really don't know but it has been that way for years.


I think you're beating on a brick wall Hades, the criticism won't let up at all.

Quoting 434. PlazaRed:

Imagine yourself on a mud flat, as far as your eye can see( but hopefully not yours,)
A hundred MPH wind is blowing up and all you have to hide under is a 15 foot driftwood boat.
Whilst lurking beneath its planking, you think of the wealth of mainland India, Raj and empire etc.
Meanwhile churning deep in the depths of the Bay of Bengal! Etc.Etc.
To tell you the truth as many a salesman would say! I'm glad I'm not there, or even flying over it all right now!


I don't think this particular area of India is a mud flat. Anyone have a geographical map?
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10361
Quoting 435. HadesGodWyvern:
you guys have to realize that the IMD advisory are always 3-6 hours behind at times.

Reasons I really don't know but it has been that way for years.


Also, New Delhi forecast from 21Z brings the storm up to 125mph 3-minute sustained, with gusts of 135mph at/near landfall.

Link

So it isn't as if they have been as off as others have thought. Thanks a lot Hades for clearing up the confusion.
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The 18z GFS initialized Phailin at 949mb, likely quite a bit too weak. For what it's worth, it shows a 934mb storm in the West Pacific (TD 25W I think) within 5 days.

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437. VR46L
The RGB image will be more interesting in a couple of hours


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T.C.F.W.
02B/MH/P/C5
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435. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
you guys have to realize that the IMD advisory are always 3-6 hours behind at times.

Reasons I really don't know but it has been that way for years.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45735
Quoting 408. FunnelVortex:


You're underestimating India. It's a pretty rich country.

Imagine yourself on a mud flat, as far as your eye can see( but hopefully not yours,)
A hundred MPH wind is blowing up and all you have to hide under is a 15 foot driftwood boat.
Whilst lurking beneath its planking, you think of the wealth of mainland India, Raj and empire etc.
Meanwhile churning deep in the depths of the Bay of Bengal! Etc.Etc.
To tell you the truth as many a salesman would say! I'm glad I'm not there, or even flying over it all right now!
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2093
433. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 430. Patrap:
Phailin

MTSAT Imagery - 30 Minutes



looks like it turned to the west more ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 364 Comments: 31610
Quoting 425. Patrap: 924.6mb/137.4kt


or 90 kts 966 mb, which to believe?

I believe the Dvorak is closer to the truth.
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431. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Quoting 426. Envoirment:


Doesn't that mean the info is from about 5-6 hours ago? It's currently 11pm here and India is about 5-6 hours ahead of the UK (I think).


yes, the new advisory that was issued at 0330 AM IST for 2330 is now 3-4 hours behind.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45735
Phailin

MTSAT Imagery - 30 Minutes

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
90kt at 3-minutes equates to a low range cat 3 at 1-minute. Still seems like a hefty under-estimation. 966 mb is a joke.

Edit; Missed the time of that advisory, will be interesting to see the next one.
Member Since: August 6, 2007 Posts: 24 Comments: 2751
428. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
2013OCT10 213000 6.1 924.4 +0.0 117.4 6.1 6.6 7.4 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF 2.84 -79.84 EYE 14 IR 85.8 15.70 -89.05

6.0 from New Delphi ADT
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427. SLU
Quoting 420. MoltenIce:
90 knots at 3-minute winds.


90kts (3-min) equals about 94kts (1-min)

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Quoting 407. HadesGodWyvern:
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #19
23:30 PM IST October 10


Doesn't that mean the info is from about 5-6 hours ago? It's currently 11pm here and India is about 5-6 hours ahead of the UK (I think).

Edit: Nevermind, just saw your post above. :)
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Typhoon 02B

UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 8.1.5
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimation Algorithm

Current Intensity Analysis



UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.5
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 10 OCT 2013 Time : 210000 UTC
Lat : 15:39:00 N Lon : 89:03:07 E


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.9 / 924.6mb/137.4kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
6.9 6.9 6.9

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 15 km

Center Temp : +4.0C Cloud Region Temp : -79.8C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : INDIAN
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : PACIFIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 82km
- Environmental MSLP : 1006mb

Satellite Name : MET7
Satellite Viewing Angle : 40.9 degrees


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
424. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Quoting 414. SLU:


The NHC needs to take over the areas governed by the IMD. To call this a 90kt hurricane is an insult to all the scientific studies that have been carried out over the last 6 decades to determine the intensity of hurricanes using the various tools that have been established. The IMD is the most farcical met department in the world. This hurricane is almost literally 2 times as strong as 90kts in intensity and exponentially more dangerous in terms of damage potential than what they currently rate is as. This is ridiculous.

EDIT: 90kts 3-minute winds are no more than 95kts 1-minute winds and that's still a woeful underestimate for such a beautiful (dangerous) hurricane.



It's 115 knots from IMD ADT page though. The advisories just has to catch up with the current data,
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45735
India is a Nuclear Power,last I checked.

Yup
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871

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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.