Tropical Storm Pakhar Threatens Vietnam
After a long quiet stretch, the tropics have finally turned active, at least in the West Pacific, as the basin now has its first named storm of the year, Pakhar. Pakhar is currently crawling west-northwestward in the South China Sea with an intenisty estimated at 45 knots by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).
This image highlights Pakhar's excellent banding features, and possibly a forming eye.
Pakhar's slow movement prevents an obvious problems for countries in its way, particularly Vietnam. The storm is only expected to reach a peak intensity of 60 knots, just under hurricane status, by JTWC, so strong winds will probably not be a huge issue, though I think the 60 knot max forecast may be conservative given Pakhar's excellent banding structure. Regardless, heavy rainfall will be the biggest concern for Vietnam, a country with a history of problems from slow moving tropical cyclones. Rainfall totals are expected to be anywhere from 1-2 feet with isolated higher amounts. This is typically the dry season in Vietnam, so this could potentially create future problems if the area is already saturated when the wet season, and an increased threat of typhoons, come along. Minor coastal flooding from storm surge will be a lesser threat, as will some potentially damaging winds. Pakhar is expected to make landfall about 2 days from now in southern Vietnam. Stay tuned as I may update tomorrow.
Rainbow image showing Pakhar's deep convection.
Elsewhere in the tropics there are no other active storms, but it appears we will see our next system in the South Pacific as all models do develop the storm. It probably will not affect any heavily populated areas but there are many less populated Pacific islands that could be in its path. The East Pacific season will be starting up in about a month and a half on May 15, and the Atlantic season will start soon after on June 1. Most signs continue to point to a weak el nino developing as the season goes on so it still looks like we will see an average season but possibly with a higher US landfall risk.
A quick rundown of other weather...
Severe Weather: The Storm Prediction Center has higlighted a potential area of severe weather for this Monday, April 2. I won't provide too many detalis on this because the models have been all over the place and this is still pretty far out.
Winter Weather: Spring has arrived, but don't tell that to Mother Nature, as the snow is still being measured in feet in the higher elevations of the Northwest. In addition, freeze warnings are up for many areas in the Mid Atlantic.
Earthquakes: None significant since a 7.1 near the coast of Chile last Sunday which left several people injured but thankfully no fatalitie or tsunami.
Solar Weather: The Sun has been fairly quiet in recent days, but that could soon change as old sunspot 1429 should be rotating into view today. 1429 was the source of multiple X class flares on its last trip across the surface of the Sun.
Thank you as always for reading and enjoy the rest of your week!