Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Phailin Rapidly Intensifying, Headed Towards India

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

Share this Blog
48
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 923 - 873

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19Blog Index

923. Torito
1:12 PM GMT on October 30, 2013
Quoting 922. DeeBaiG:
Jeff, the prediction of this catastrophe is too scary. Even scarier are the anticipations. Natural calamities are out of control but what we can do is to make preparations to minimize the devastation. May this impending danger would not cause huge loss of lives! All other losses can be compensated but not lives.
DbaiG
Bolee.com


old blog. new one here.

Link
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
922. DeeBaiG
1:10 PM GMT on October 30, 2013
Jeff, the prediction of this catastrophe is too scary. Even scarier are the anticipations. Natural calamities are out of control but what we can do is to make preparations to minimize the devastation. May this impending danger would not cause huge loss of lives! All other losses can be compensated but not lives.
DbaiG
Bolee.com
Member Since: October 23, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
921. nwobilderburg
10:28 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 920. g564841:
Hello guys .. so the rain has stopped for now .the hawii watch is saying its gonna be a category 5 cyclone with speed 300+ , but imd is still insisting its not THAT bad .I can see rescue planes flowing in . At least the state is taking it seriously . What is the news from your analysis ?

maybe not 300 kph... but it will probably impact as a Cat 4/ low Cat 5 Storm.... there will probably be high storm surge. How far inland are they evacuating people
Member Since: October 6, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 723
920. g564841
3:16 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Hello guys .. so the rain has stopped for now .the hawii watch is saying its gonna be a category 5 cyclone with speed 300+ , but imd is still insisting its not THAT bad .I can see rescue planes flowing in . At least the state is taking it seriously . What is the news from your analysis ?
Member Since: August 16, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 6
919. DanAlabama
2:28 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
What does the ocean look like under a cyclone such as Phailin? I'll check for myself later, too busy to surf the net right now.

Member Since: October 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 31
918. Torito
2:07 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 916. Gino99:


Thanks!


no problem. jeff masters has more information on it in his new blog that he just posted.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
917. ScottLincoln
2:05 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 913. rudyinpompano:


According to this post, they are predicting 3 meters of storm surge, not 3 feet...

Even then... if Phailin produces surge anything similar to the Orissa Cyclone, then ~9ft will still be way under.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3169
916. Gino99
2:03 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 901. Torito:


1999 Orissa cyclone


Thanks!
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 23
915. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
2:01 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
914. SLU
2:01 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
02BPHAILIN.140kts-918mb-167N-877E

We've not seen anything like this in the Atlantic in the last 1/2 decade.
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4888
913. rudyinpompano
1:59 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 867. nrtiwlnvragn:



Excerpt:

(iii) Storm Surge Guidance: Storm surge with height of around 3.0 m above astronomical tide
would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha and
Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh during landfall.





According to this post, they are predicting 3 meters of storm surge, not 3 feet...
Member Since: July 23, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 47
912. Torito
1:59 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Beautiful storm, terrible consequences. :/

Current Wind Speed 135 knots / 155 MPH

Max Predicted Wind Speed 140 knots / 161 MPH at October 11, 2013 2:00pm



Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
911. Torito
1:58 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
910. NCstu
1:58 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 903. MoltenIce:
Looks really menacing.

Nari made landfall with 105 knot winds.


it's striking how weak this storm looks compared to Phailin.
Member Since: August 7, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 431
909. hydrus
1:58 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20520
908. skycycle
1:57 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Hey everyone, joining back after a healthy night of sleep and wonderful lunch... and I see that Phailin looks even more dangerous than yesterday, and it might still strengthen a bit before landfall...


Yesterday there were a lot of people, including me, voicing great concern over how amateurish the IMD is responding to this and how they seem to be severely underestimating the size and potential of this storm - I see this has not changed today - even though this obviously is a sub-920mb storm, they still have it at 940, and are predicting a 3-6ft storm surge, which is preposterous to say the least. I mean, is there no one to tell them how extremely irresponsible this is, is there no communication between the JTWC and IMD and the other stations?

And for conversation's sake, I hope Napolitano aka Captain Obvious doesn't join in again with his pointless chatter, obviously I am aware that all precautions that they could have taken are going at full steam... It just strikes me as weird that a nation of 1+ billion people cannot properly train and finance ONE SINGLE institution - not talking about preparing every village along the coast and having shelters and emergency response personnel, I'm talking about 1 building in Delhi or wherever that is properly staffed and properly equipped - something which, very apparently, India DOES NOT currently possess...
Member Since: August 26, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 189
907. LargoFl
1:56 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36983
906. Torito
1:55 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
905. beell
1:54 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
nrt knows meters!
:)
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16258
904. ycd0108
1:53 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
From Al Jazeera:
"While officials said they had already begun evacuations, an Associated Press news agency photographer saw little sign of that in Odisha on Thursday."
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 175 Comments: 4598
903. MoltenIce
1:52 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 882. SLU:
So far as killer hurricanes go, this one is pretty bad.

Looks really menacing.

Nari made landfall with 105 knot winds.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 772
902. hydrus
1:52 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20520
901. Torito
1:51 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 898. Gino99:
Just asking but was there ever a Cat 5 hurricane in the BOB before? If yes was it also this dangerous.. ._.
Prayers to all in Eastern India.


1999 Orissa cyclone
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
900. LargoFl
1:48 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
98 will be gone in a couple of days.......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36983
899. HurricaneAndre
1:48 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 897. hydrus:
Looking good and bad.
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 19 Comments: 2552
898. Gino99
1:47 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Just asking but was there ever a Cat 5 hurricane in the BOB before? If yes was it also this dangerous.. ._.
Prayers to all in Eastern India.
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 23
897. hydrus
1:45 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20520
896. ScottLincoln
1:44 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 862. NCstu:


"Also, the government’s official storm surge forecast shows a maximum value at landfall of a little over 3 feet (1 meter)"

people are staying put to make sure that their fishing boats aren't destroyed... It's not impossible that they storm surge could be more like 20 ft and it will definitely be more than 3 feet.

"At last tally (2 a.m. Friday, India time), one satellite-based measure of Phailin’s strength estimated the storm’s central pressure at 910.7 millibars, with sustained winds of 175 mph (280 kph)."

I really hope that estimate is way off.

They are officially forecasting "3 feet" of storm surge... for a category 4 cyclone?

Although bathymetry and storm size play big roles as well, I'm not sure what situation would cause a category 4 storm to only produce 3 feet of surge.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3169
895. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:42 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
02B/MH/P/C4
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
894. muddertracker
1:41 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
http://www.ndtv.com/

Good English language site for India news. Live news feed also available on this site. idk how much storm coverage they will carry though.

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 2337
893. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:41 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 878. HurricaneAndre:
Is it possible that the Atlantic will have some of it remnants.
only if after landfall it tracks over the him. mountains across northern Russia over the arctic down inyo canada enter the atlantic from ne us coast into the atlantic it goes

but really no chance of that happening
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
892. farupnorth
1:39 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 890. hydrus:


A recon into that would have been interesting
Member Since: August 4, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 131
891. Halcyon19
1:39 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Does anyone think that, based on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, Phailin was a category five equivalent cyclone yesterday? It sure looked like it, but all sources I have seen have a maximum at 155 mph (cat. 4).
Member Since: September 3, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 57
890. hydrus
1:35 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20520
889. weathermanwannabe
1:34 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
We also have two active back-to-back storms in the West Pacific at the moment:

Link

The Atlantic is quiet but the world wide tropics have been very active this year. Also have to wonder about the global "connections" in the tropics and whether high activity in one basin might impact storm formation in other basins...........We have observed an inverse relationship between the E-Pac and Atlantic season which we follow on here.

The MJO, I believe, is a "global" oscillation but I do not track it across the Pacific Basin and Indian ocean's etc and whether it is currently in an active phase in the Bay of Bengal and/or West Pacific.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8823
888. islander101010
1:32 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
leftovers of karen look interesting two areas
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4352
887. SLU
1:31 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4888
886. 1900hurricane
1:28 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
It looks like Eyewall Replacement is in the process of finishing up for Phailin.

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11666
885. muddertracker
1:26 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Phailin looks to be structurally perfect...or very close to it. Prayers and thoughts, prayers and thoughts. I wonder how evac is going. I hope its going exceptionally well.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 2337
884. weathermanwannabe
1:25 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 876. barbamz:

Phailin cloud top loop.


Notice the circular topography around the storm. Have to wonder if that topography helps spin up the circulations in that region much like the Bay of Campeche effect near the Gulf.


Will also note that the latest visible loops are starting to show that "stadium" effect in the eye. Not a good scenario for a storm nearing landfall.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8823
883. farupnorth
1:25 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 878. HurricaneAndre:
Is it possible that the Atlantic will have some of it remnants.


Look at post 840 and check direction of Phailin and where the Atlantic is located.

No major remnants are going to affect the Atlantic
Member Since: August 4, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 131
882. SLU
1:24 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
So far as killer hurricanes go, this one is pretty bad.

Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4888
881. whitewabit (Mod)
1:20 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 878. HurricaneAndre:
Is it possible that the Atlantic will have some of it remnants.


Uh .. NO!!
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 361 Comments: 31256
880. SLU
1:15 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 866. StormTrackerScott:


Hey remnants are better than no remnants. Maybe with El-Nino next year you will finally see some action. There are indications that we may have a moderate El-Nino going into next years hurricane season.



lol Scott
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 4888
879. FunnelVortex
1:14 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 878. HurricaneAndre:
Is it possible that the Atlantic will have some of it remnants.


LOLWHUT?
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
878. HurricaneAndre
1:13 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 868. whitewabit:
Beautiful in structure but oh so deadly I'm afraid ..

Is it possible that the Atlantic will have some of it remnants.
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 19 Comments: 2552
877. wunderkidcayman
1:13 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Wow it seems very uneventful I really hope it gets really eventful during the next few weeks before my retirement in late Nov early Dec
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11166
876. barbamz
1:10 PM GMT on October 11, 2013

Phailin cloud top loop.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 52 Comments: 5681
875. wunderkidcayman
1:07 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Hey guys IMO I say 98L will remain weak and stay on a steady Westward track
Following models like the BAMS and CLIP and also following the XTRP and no way it's going OTS
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11166
874. whitewabit (Mod)
1:03 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 873. weathermanwannabe:
Look at this Rainbow loop of Pahilin:

Link

Total devastation when that eye wall comes ashore; lets hope the authorities over there have had the resources to evacuate folks from the coast; their homes will certainly be wiped out with nothing to come back to.


I doubt if there were many that evacuated .. the people just don't have the resources to leave ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 361 Comments: 31256
873. weathermanwannabe
12:59 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Look at this Rainbow loop of Phailin:

Link

Total devastation when that eye wall comes ashore; lets hope the authorities over there have had the resources to evacuate folks from the coast; their homes will certainly be wiped out with nothing to come back to.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8823

Viewing: 923 - 873

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.