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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Quoting 371. TropicalAnalystwx13:
I'm not sure if you guys saw this article earlier...

'Phailin' will not be a super cyclone: IMD

Super cyclone starts at 120 knots (140 mph)

I have no words.


I just posted that sorry I didn't see you had posted it earlier.
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Quoting 366. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
it will be opening bid is 10,000 souls likely more

Keep, its the storm surge that will probably be the main problem and concern here, If those low lying lands of Bangla Desh get a significant surge then the problem will be who can survive the waves?
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I'm not sure if you guys saw this article earlier...

'Phailin' will not be a super cyclone: IMD

Super cyclone starts at 120 knots (140 mph)

I have no words.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32505
Quoting 356. Naga5000:


So that was you ahead of me, for shame.
Sorry....I just knew the person behind me was a weather guy.I think the hair was a give-away... It looked like an anvil...Sure sign of a Cumulonimbus... I'll be better next time.
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From the article

"Revenue and Disaster Management minister S N Patro also appealed to the people not to panic."

In this case panic might be the best response!
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Quoting 346. VR46L:


Thought about moving to the Philippines?


LOL
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They may be downplaying Phailin. Uh oh.

'Phailin' will not be a super cyclone: IMD

From the India Times
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Quoting 364. PlazaRed:

Impressive it may look but deadly it probably is!
it will be opening bid is 10,000 souls likely more
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Quoting 316. Neapolitan:
Again, this isn't 1780, 1880, or even 1980; this storm isn't creeping up on anyone. They know it's coming...


I certainly hope you're right. But you've got me wondering (and this is a legitimate question) if the Indian people have the same, um, "respect" for scientists and meteorologists as we have in the U.S.?

While I'd say a good majority of Americans heed meteorological warnings and understand that weather prediction is not an exact science, I still am shocked at the number of people who will complain "They said there was a 70% chance of rain today and it didn't rain! All science is all wrong!!"

The same set of people tend to think of warnings as "hype" and hold up every minor forecasting mistake as further proof of their notion that scientists are lazy, stupid, and in it for the easy money (ha!).

I hope the attitude in India is a bit more... enlightened.
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Quoting 361. MoltenIce:
You can't argue this looks impressive.

Impressive it may look but deadly it probably is!
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Quoting 340. Doppler22:
Walk outside to get groceries aaaaaaaaand I am dripping wet. -_- I hate when its cold and raining. Tonight is a good night for a fire in the fireplace :)


But this is in your climatology. I'll take this over a TC bearing down on my house, hearth and family.

BTW in DC I'm also cool and debating firing up the woodstove. Wish I could have bottled up some of the heat from last week when the AC was operating at half of its summer duration.
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Very formidable cyclone

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
You can't argue this looks impressive.
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A really important thing to watch right now with Phailin is the precise track. Originally it was forecast to go into Odisha province, but it's been trending south of forecast points and the expected landfall point is now in northeastern Andhra Pradesh, which looks from Google Earth like a basically best-case scenario, given how relatively unpopulated that stretch of coast is. However, if it continues trending southward, the city of Visakhapatnam could be in the bullseye (with a population of 1.5 million, the third largest on the east coast of India).
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Quoting 355. SFLWeatherman:
12Z GFS 384HR out lol snow in NC


now that would be something..LOL
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358. VR46L
Quoting 351. ncstorm:


you know I wonder if the Asian folks on their tropical weather blogs argue about our own NHC naming or not naming systems, is the intensity wrong on the atlantic storms, whine about why no one ever tracks Atlantic storms, or someone rants why they are only rooting for death and destruction for Fukishma, or if the people in the US and Islands are aware that a tropical storm is heading their way, do they even have their own personal guru ネア who leads the masses..you have to wonder how the other side of the world blogs..




I came across a Word Press blog of weather in that area but I can't remember the name


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Quoting 340. Doppler22:
Walk outside to get groceries aaaaaaaaand I am dripping wet. -_- I hate when its cold and raining. Tonight is a good night for a fire in the fireplace :)
We did need the rain though.The grass was turning brown.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17475
Quoting 335. PalmBeachWeather:
But.But....Nea, Just last night I had eleven items at Publix... I thought about it for a very long time...5 of the items were the same Strawberry Yogurt...I sinned, But I went in the 10 item only line...I had trouble sleeping last night. I hope tonight I will be able to sleep. Shame on me.


So that was you ahead of me, for shame.
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12Z GFS 384HR out lol snow in NC
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Storm surge forecast model created by India Meteorological Department.

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352. VR46L
Quoting 349. MoltenIce:


True. The only basins that use 1-minute winds are the EPac and Atlantic. The rest uses 10-minute sustained winds though the BoB and Arabian Sea are exceptions (3-minute winds).

Anyway, Nari has a well-defined eye under microwave.


Hmmm would there have been one tropical storm this year in the Atlantic under the 10 min criteria....
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Quoting 345. VR46L:


Hey , for some reason pointing out a developing world country is not handling the storm well , seems to have gotten under some folks Skin ....

I think you are right in much of what you said . the underplaying of the storm this morning was wrong but I guess it may have been night time there and maybe they don't carry a night shift .


you know I wonder if the Asian folks on their tropical weather blogs argue about our own NHC naming or not naming systems, is the intensity wrong on the atlantic storms, whine about why no one ever tracks Atlantic storms, or someone rants why they are only rooting for death and destruction for Fukishma, or if the people in the US and Islands are aware that a tropical storm is heading their way, do they even have their own personal guru ネア who leads the masses..you have to wonder how the other side of the world blogs..
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LOL.OK. I'll do it
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Quoting 348. Envoirment:


I wouldn't go that far. Using 3 minute sustained winds is vastly different from 1 minute sustained winds. Tropical Cyclone Sidr is a good example of this. 160mph 1 minute sustained at peak, but 130mph 3 minute sustained winds at peak. We see large differences all the time in the WPAC too, with 10 minute sustained vs 1 minute sustained.

As far as I'm aware, the IMD were predicting a category 3 storm from the get go, while the JTWC had it making landfall as a category 1 at first. Forecasting intensity is incredibly difficult and the IMD have done semi-decently at the start and have caught up quite well in regards to the storm's rapid intensification. I think the IMD are doing fine and warnings have been issued to the parts of India that are going to be hit.

Sadly though, there will likely be many deaths due to poor infrastructure in some parts. Fingers crossed that the storm will be disrupted and weaken before landfall.


True. The only basins that use 1-minute winds are the EPac and Atlantic. The rest uses 10-minute sustained winds though the BoB and Arabian Sea are exceptions (3-minute winds).

Anyway, Nari has a well-defined eye under microwave.
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Quoting 301. skycycle:


what the IMD is doing in terms of reporting and underestimating should be considered a CRIMINAL offence :/ Any thoughts?


I wouldn't go that far. Using 3 minute sustained winds is vastly different from 1 minute sustained winds. Tropical Cyclone Sidr is a good example of this. 160mph 1 minute sustained at peak, but 130mph 3 minute sustained winds at peak. We see large differences all the time in the WPAC too, with 10 minute sustained vs 1 minute sustained.

As far as I'm aware, the IMD were predicting a category 3 storm from the get go, while the JTWC had it making landfall as a category 1 at first. Forecasting intensity is incredibly difficult and the IMD have done semi-decently at the start and have caught up quite well in regards to the storm's rapid intensification. I think the IMD are doing fine and warnings have been issued to the parts of India that are going to be hit.

Sadly though, there will likely be many deaths due to poor infrastructure in some parts. Fingers crossed that the storm will be disrupted and weaken before landfall.
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Quoting 344. CaribBoy:


Lol I'm so desperate xD
Desperado......Why don't you come to your senses
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346. VR46L
Quoting 344. CaribBoy:


Lol I'm so desperate xD


Thought about moving to the Philippines?
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345. VR46L
Quoting 301. skycycle:


If this is true, it's already the strongest storm ever in the basin... not to mention that the wind speed translates to 175mph / 280kmh - even if it's 1 min-sustained, it's a MONSTER of a storm... and if keeps this up, it might well shatter a few records.

Here's to hoping that the damage and casualties are as little/few as possible - unfortunately, the pieces of the puzzle are slowly falling in place, and in my opinion, what the IMD is doing in terms of reporting and underestimating should be considered a CRIMINAL offence :/ Any thoughts?


Hey , for some reason pointing out a developing world country is not handling the storm well , seems to have gotten under some folks Skin ....

I think you are right in much of what you said . the underplaying of the storm this morning was wrong but I guess it may have been night time there and maybe they don't carry a night shift .
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Quoting 332. ncstorm:


its only the CMC but there are some ensemble members that bring something your way..thats all I got..










Lol I'm so desperate xD
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It's safe to say that an EWRC will begin pretty soon, but right now I really don't see a big enough change in appearance to say that Phailin has peaked in intensity.
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Quoting 337. sebastianflorida:

Next Year I vote we have a blog without nonsense "Hype" meaning 10 days out postings will be banned as they mean NOTHING!


Quick, someone get the GFS at 384 hours out.

Nonsense "hype"? Can a weather lover not dream?
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10417
02B/MH/P/C5

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Walk outside to get groceries aaaaaaaaand I am dripping wet. -_- I hate when its cold and raining. Tonight is a good night for a fire in the fireplace :)
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Quoting Patrap:
98L

Moving due west, maybe avoiding the strongest shear if that trend continues, we'll see...
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Quoting 325. ncstorm:
ex Karen is just on a world wide tour..next stop..bahamas??



She can feel free to come hang out in my backyard if she would like. :D
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Quoting 313. LargoFl:
gfs at 240 hours................

Next Year I vote we have a blog without nonsense "Hype" meaning 10 days out postings will be banned as they mean NOTHING!
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Keeping an eye on the loops off and on for the next bit to see if an EWRC is upcoming. I'm seeing some irregularities in the eyewall on the end of the recent loops. Could just be a small fluctuation but Phailin looks to be a good candidate for one to happen.

WV. Cloud tops temps have warmed some but have been pretty consistent overall.
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Quoting 290. Neapolitan:
Yeah, I'd imagine many of those here who act that way are the same self-entitled types who use their cell phones during big screen movies, bring 30 items through the supermarket express lane, and never tip wait staff because "they already earn a paycheck". That is, rude, uncouth, and devoid of any sense of proper etiquette. But we can always hope they grow up at some point. Either that, or just go elsewhere...
But.But....Nea, Just last night I had eleven items at Publix... I thought about it for a very long time...5 of the items were the same Strawberry Yogurt...I sinned, But I went in the 10 item only line...I had trouble sleeping last night. I hope tonight I will be able to sleep. Shame on me.
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Quoting 306. StormTrackerScott:


I know I did disaster releif there back in High School
Did you came to La Ceiba?
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Quoting 330. allancalderini:
Anyone believe 98L will be renumber tonight?
Yes and no.
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Quoting 326. CaribBoy:
98L.... lol come please.


its only the CMC but there are some ensemble members that bring something your way..thats all I got..








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Quoting 324. TheDawnAwakening:


I would say that's where Phailin peaked at, as cold clouds tops have warmed slightly indicating a leveling off in intensity and deepening.

It's probably peaking right about now. The small eye will likely start losing definition in the next few hours and the storm will probably start an EWRC, which will cause at least temporary weakening. Hopefully it isn't able to pull itself back together as well after the process finishes.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7926
Anyone believe 98L will be renumber tonight?
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Phailin has that Hurricane Wilma look to it.
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A few chasers hit the jackpot Friday -- here's some video documenting both the Wayne, NE EF-4 and the Washita-Quimby-Cherokee EF-4:

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32505
10/2030 UTC 15.7N 89.1E T7.0/7.0 PHAILIN -- Bay of Bengal
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7926
98L.... lol come please.
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ex Karen is just on a world wide tour..next stop..bahamas??



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Quoting 295. nwobilderburg:
2013OCT10 200000 7.4 910.7 152.0 7.4 7.4 7.4 NO LIMIT OFF OFF


I would say that's where Phailin peaked at, as cold clouds tops have warmed slightly indicating a leveling off in intensity and deepening.
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It's hard to see the convection temperature gradient, much less the center of Wilma's eye.

Peak intensity:

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32505

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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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