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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Coastal Flood Warning

------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------
COASTAL HAZARD MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA
942 AM EDT THU OCT 10 2013

VAZ078-084>086-091-102145-
/O.CON.KAKQ.CF.W.0002.000000T0000Z-131010T2200Z/
LANCASTER-GLOUCESTER-MIDDLESEX-MATHEWS-YORK-
942 AM EDT THU OCT 10 2013

...COASTAL FLOOD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EDT THIS
EVENING...

* LOCATION...ALONG AND NEAR THE CHESAPEAKE BAY...INCLUDING
WINDMILL POINT AND GLOUCESTER POINT.

* TIMING...WITHIN ONE TO TWO HOURS ON EITHER SIDE OF HIGH TIDE.

* TIDES...TIDAL DEPARTURES WILL AVERAGE AROUND 1.5 FT ABOVE
NORMAL. AT YORKTOWN...HIGH TIDE OCCURS AT 158 PM EDT...WITH A
FORECAST WATER LEVEL AROUND 4.5 FT MLLW. MINOR FLOODING AT
YORKTOWN BEGINS AT 4.5 FT MLLW...WHILE MODERATE FLOODING
BEGINS AT 5.0 FT MLLW. AT WINDMILL POINT...HIGH TIDE OCCURS AT
331 PM EDT WITH A FORECAST WATER LEVEL AROUND 3.6 FT MLLW.
MINOR FLOODING AT WINDMILL POINT BEGINS AT 3.0 FT MLLW...WHILE
MODERATE FLOODING AT WINDMILL POINT BEGINS AT 3.5 FT MLLW.

* IMPACTS...THE COMBINATION OF THE TIDAL SURGE AND RAINFALL WILL
RESULT IN WIDESPREAD MINOR TO POSSIBLY LOW END MODERATE
COASTAL FLOODING...INCLUDING VULNERABLE AREAS NEAR TIDAL
RIVERS AND CREEKS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A COASTAL FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS OCCURRING OR
IMMINENT. COASTAL RESIDENTS IN THE WARNED AREA SHOULD BE ALERT
FOR RISING WATER...AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO PROTECT LIFE
AND PROPERTY. IN ADDITION...THE COMBINATION OF HIGH WATER AND
HIGH WAVES WILL RESULT IN BEACH EROSION...AND DAMAGE TO DOCKS AND
PIERS IN LOCATIONS EXPOSED TO HIGH WATER AND WAVE ACTION.

&&

$$
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41582
Thanks, Dr. Masters.

Cyclone Phailin intensifies as it approaches India
Reuters India, By Jatindra Dash and Mayank Bhardwaj,
Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:52pm IST

BHUBANESWAR/NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A cyclone heading towards the southeast coast intensified on Thursday, disaster management and weather officials said, warning tens of thousands of farmers to save their crops before the storm reaches land in the next 72 hours.

Packing wind speeds of up to 185 kph (115 mph), cyclone Phailin is moving in from the Bay of Bengal and is forecast to hit between Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Paradip in Odisha state on the evening of October 12.

The neighboring West Bengal, and the Andaman and Nicobar islands, are also expected to experience heavy rains, gale force winds and storm surges.

"The cyclone is definitely coming and it's going to be severe one, as its current speed is 100 kph (62 mph)," Shashidhar Reddy, vice chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, told a news conference.

"It is gaining an extra speed of 10 kph every three hours."

The weather office said damage to homes, power and telecoms disruptions and flooding were likely, and urged authorities to suspend fishing operations and consider evacuating coastal residents.

The Meteorological Department also called on tens of thousands of farmers in the rice and cotton-growing states to save their crops.

"Farmers have 48 hours to prepare," said director general L. S. Rathore. "We have asked them to harvest if their crops are ready, to bundle the crops together to minimise the damage or to drain out any water stagnating in their fields."

Authorities in the affected states began stocking shelters with rations, put disaster response teams on standby, and cancelled government employees' holidays as Phailin - some 800 km (500 miles) from the coastline - moved closer. ...
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Quoting 16. Tropicsweatherpr:
TPIO10 PGTW 101517

A. TROPICAL CYCLONE 02B (PHAILIN)

B. 10/1430Z

C. 15.5N

D. 89.9E

E. ONE/MET7

F. T6.5/6.5/D3.5/24HRS STT: D0.5/03HRS

G. IR/EIR

H. REMARKS: 01A/PBO EYE/ANMTN. OW EYE SURROUNDED BY CMG (+0.5
ADJUSTMENT FOR CMG) YIELDS A DT OF 7.0. PT WAS 6.5; MET WAS
4.5. DBO PT DUE TO CONSTRAINTS (CHANGE OF 1.0 IN 6HRS).
CONSTRAINTS (CHANGE OF 2.5 IN 24HRS) AND (MET WITHIN 1.0 OF DT)
WERE BROKEN DUE TO RAPID INTENSIFICATION.

I. ADDITIONAL POSITIONS:
10/2141Z 14.4N 91.6E MMHS

Yeah, those constraints are probably too restricting, especially since they probably had the intensity a little too low this time yesterday.
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slow moving nor'easter up there...............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41582
Quoting 10. Ameister12:
Thanks Dr. Masters

I said last blog that I think the intensity of Phailin is much higher than a category 3.

A tropical cyclone with -80c could tops surrounding a small, well defined eye is a typical apperance of a category 4, or even a category 5 tropical cyclone.

If I were to venture a guess, I'd say high end category 4 right now based on one thing: eye temperature. While an extremely impressive cyclone, the eye is still a little cooler than most category 5 equivalent tropical cyclones, which have very warm eyes due to the upper air subsidence at the center of the very intense upper air anticyclone, which is strong due to the intensity of the eyewall. However, they eye does appear to be warming up a bit, so it's certainly plausible to say that Phailian hasn't yet peaked. Also, the slightly more coarse sat imagery could also play a part in how warm the eye is interpreted.
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COASTAL HAZARD MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOUNT HOLLY NJ
928 AM EDT THU OCT 10 2013

.THIS LONG DURATION NOR`EASTER IS PRODUCING ROUGH CONDITIONS
ALONG THE ATLANTIC SHORES OF NEW JERSEY AND DELAWARE. WIDESPREAD
MINOR COASTAL FLOODING IS EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON WITH MODERATE
COASTAL FLOODING EXPECTED TO TAKE PLACE ALONG THE DELAWARE BAY...AIDED
IN PART BY PERIODS OF WIND DRIVEN HEAVY RAIN. MINOR COASTAL
FLOODING AND HIGH SURF ARE ALSO EXPECTED DURING THE HIGH TIDE
CYCLE FRIDAY AFTERNOON. ADDITIONAL MINOR COASTAL FLOODING IS
POSSIBLE AT THE TIMES OF HIGH TIDE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

DEZ002>004-NJZ021-023-024-102100-
/O.UPG.KPHI.CF.Y.0019.131010T1500Z-131011T2100Z/
/O.NEW.KPHI.CF.W.0006.131010T1500Z-131010T2100Z/
KENT-INLAND SUSSEX-DELAWARE BEACHES-CUMBERLAND-CAPE MAY-
ATLANTIC COASTAL CAPE MAY-
928 AM EDT THU OCT 10 2013

...COASTAL FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM EDT THIS
AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOUNT HOLLY HAS ISSUED A COASTAL
FLOOD WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON.
THE COASTAL FLOOD ADVISORY IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

* LOCATION...THE SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY AND DELAWARE COASTS...AS
WELL AS THE LOWER DELAWARE BAY.

* COASTAL FLOODING...MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING IS ANTICIPATED
AROUND THIS AFTERNOON`S HIGH TIDE.

* AT CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY (OCEANFRONT), HIGH TIDE OCCURS AT 114
PM, WITH A FORECAST TIDE LEVEL OF 7.5 TO 8.0 FEET ABOVE MEAN
LOWER LOW WATER.

* AT BREAKWATER HARBOR, DELAWARE (DELAWARE BAY), HIGH TIDE OCCURS
AT 123 PM, WITH A FORECAST TIDE LEVEL NEAR 7.0 FEET ABOVE MEAN
LOWER LOW WATER.

* HIGH TIDE ON THE BACK BAYS AND ALONG THE DELAWARE BAY OCCURS
LATER THAN THE HIGH TIDE ON THE OCEANFRONT.

* SEAS...WAVE HEIGHTS ON THE OCEAN WATERS WILL BE 6 TO 10 FEET.
WAVE HEIGHTS ON THE DELAWARE BAY WILL BE 3 TO 6 FEET.

* IMPACTS...NUMEROUS ROADWAYS WILL FLOOD AND MINOR TO MODERATE
PROPERTY DAMAGE IS POSSIBLE. THE TIDES AND WAVE ACTION WILL
RESULT IN MODERATE BEACH EROSION. HEAVY RAIN MAY ALSO FALL
AROUND THE TIME OF HIGH TIDE ADDING TO THE INCREASE IN WATER
LEVELS. A MAJORITY OF THE MODERATE FLOODING WILL TAKE PLACE IN
AND ALONG THE DELAWARE BAY.

* OUTLOOK...MINOR TIDAL FLOODING IS ALSO POSSIBLE DURING THE
SECOND HALF OF THE DAY HIGH TIDE CYCLE ON FRIDAY. MINOR TIDAL
FLOODING MIGHT ALSO OCCUR ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A COASTAL FLOOD WARNING INDICATES THAT MODERATE OR MAJOR TIDAL
FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING. BE PREPARED FOR RISING WATER
LEVELS AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY.
FOLLOW THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
OFFICIALS.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE THROUGH FLOOD WATERS. THE WATER MAY BE
DEEPER THAN YOU THINK. YOU WILL BE PUTTING YOURSELF IN DANGER AND
YOUR VEHICLE MAY BE DAMAGED...LEADING TO COSTLY REPAIRS.

FOR A LIST OF THE IMPACT OF DIFFERENT TIDE HEIGHTS IN YOUR
COUNTY...PLEASE GO TO WWW.ERH.NOAA.GOV/PHI/TIDES.HTM (ALL IN
LOWER CASE).

&&
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41582
bet some folks are having flashbacks of sandy.........COASTAL HAZARD MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
428 AM EDT THU OCT 10 2013

...MINOR COASTAL FLOODING TODAY...

NJZ006-NYZ072-074-101900-
/O.CON.KOKX.CF.S.0023.131010T1600Z-131010T1900Z/
HUDSON-NEW YORK (MANHATTAN)-RICHMOND (STATEN ISLAND)-
428 AM EDT THU OCT 10 2013

* LOCATIONS...LOW LYING AREAS ALONG THE NEW YORK HARBOR COAST.

* TIDAL DEPARTURES...1 TO 1 1/2 FT ABOVE ASTRONOMICAL TIDES.

* TIMING...DURING THE TIME OF HIGH TIDES BETWEEN 12 AND 3 PM
TODAY.

* IMPACTS...LOCALIZED FLOODING OF THE MOST VULNERABLE SHORE ROADS
AND/OR BASEMENTS. ANY IMPACT ON PROPERTY WILL BE MINIMAL. IF
MODERATE TO HEAVY RAIN COINCIDES WITH THE TIME OF HIGH
TIDE...MORE WIDESPREAD STREET AND BASEMENT FLOODING WILL OCCUR.

$$
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41582
TPIO10 PGTW 101517

A. TROPICAL CYCLONE 02B (PHAILIN)

B. 10/1430Z

C. 15.5N

D. 89.9E

E. ONE/MET7

F. T6.5/6.5/D3.5/24HRS STT: D0.5/03HRS

G. IR/EIR

H. REMARKS: 01A/PBO EYE/ANMTN. OW EYE SURROUNDED BY CMG (+0.5
ADJUSTMENT FOR CMG) YIELDS A DT OF 7.0. PT WAS 6.5; MET WAS
4.5. DBO PT DUE TO CONSTRAINTS (CHANGE OF 1.0 IN 6HRS).
CONSTRAINTS (CHANGE OF 2.5 IN 24HRS) AND (MET WITHIN 1.0 OF DT)
WERE BROKEN DUE TO RAPID INTENSIFICATION.

I. ADDITIONAL POSITIONS:
10/2141Z 14.4N 91.6E MMHS
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Any projections for the Kathmandu and Himalayas from Phailin?
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2013OCT10 150000 4.7 961.2 +0.0 82.2 4.7 5.3 7.3 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF -7.26 -80.79 EYE 14 IR N/A 15.53 -89.84

1400 PM UTC - still 4.5 from IMD but it might be 5.0 in the next imagery.
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Quoting 5. muddertracker:
The Bay of Bengal is scary right now. Prayers.


Yeah very ....Thoughts as well

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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41582
in a universe where the Dvorak has a tough time in catching up with rapid intensification.

The raw T-number is still around 7.0 from IMD
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Thanks Dr. Masters

I said last blog that I think the intensity of Phailin is much higher than a category 3.

A tropical cyclone with -80c could tops surrounding a small, well defined eye is a typical apperance of a category 4, or even a category 5 tropical cyclone.
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Thanks Doc!!
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Quoting 858. HadesGodWyvern:
According to satellite imagery, the intensity of the system is T4.5. Intense to very intense convection is seen over east central bay and adjoining north Andaman sea islands and area between lat 13.0N to 16.5N and long 88.0E to 92.0E. The associated convection has increased gradually with respect to height and organization during past 3 hours. The lowest cloud top temperature is about -80C. The system is eye pattern. Eye is circular with diameter of about 15 km.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 75 knots with gusts of 85 knots. The state of the sea is phenomenal around the center. Phailin central pressure is 976 hPa

The upper tropospheric ridge runs along 18n and is providing poleward out flow in association with the anticyclonic circulation over central India. Hence upper level divergence is favorable for intensification. The low level convergence along with low level relative vorticity has increased during past 6 hours.. The sea surface temperature is about 28-29C and ocean thermal energy is about 80-100 kj/cm2. The vertical wind shear of horizontal wind has decreased and is about 5-10 knots (low). The Madden-Jullian oscillation index is in phase 6 with amplitude greater than 1. Numerical weather prediction models suggest that Madden-Jullian oscillation would move to phase 7 during next 3 days

---
little more update from IMD from the Tropical Cyclone Outlook page.
I'm trying to figure out in what universe this yields a T# of 4.5...

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Thanks for the update Dr. Masters.
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Thanks Dr. Masters.

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The Bay of Bengal is scary right now. Prayers.
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Thanks, Doc. I hope everyone along the eastern coast of India is paying close attention to this storm.
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I think this is Andrew-Type RI we are seeing.
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Thanks Doc... Our prayers are with India and Bangladesh people.
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Thanks, Dr. Masters!
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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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