In the Western Pacific, Typhoon Neoguri
has strengthened into a dangerous Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds this Sunday morning, and is headed west-northwest at 12 mph towards a Tuesday brush with Okinawa in Japan's Ryukyu island chain. Satellite images
show a huge and well-organized system, with a prominent eye, and very intense eyewall thunderstorms with cold cloud tops. WInd shear
is light, 5 - 10 knots, sea surface temperatures are a very warm 30 - 31°C, and very warm waters extend to great depth along the storm's path, giving the typhoon plenty of heat energy to power potential intensification into a Category 5 Super Typhoon. The 00Z Sunday runs of our two top track models, the GFS and European models, showed Neoguri passing about 50 - 100 miles south of Okinawa near 00 UTC Tuesday. Okinawa will be in the right front quadrant of Neoguri, but if the present track forecast holds, the top winds on the south end of the island will be barely hurricane force, 70 - 75 mph. The ocean is very deep offshore of Okinawa, which will allow huge waves to crash against the coast. Shortly after passing Okinawa, Neoguri will get caught by a trough of low pressure and begin curving to the north, and likely hit the Japanese island of Kyushu, where the city of Nagasaki lies, between 12 - 22 UTC on Wednesday. Although ocean temperatures will cool and wind shear will rise as Neoguri approaches Japan, weakening the storm, the typhoon is so large and powerful that it will likely make landfall at Category 2 or 3 strength, causing major damage in Japan. Neoguri is the 7th named storm and 3rd typhoon of the 2014 Western Pacific typhoon season. The other two typhoons of 2014--Typhoon Faxai and Typhoon Tapah--were both Category 1 storms. Neoguri is named after the Korean word for raccoon dog.Figure 1.
NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman
tweeted this photo of Typhoon Neoguri from the International Space Station at 7 pm EDT July 5, 2014. At the time, Neoguri was a Category 4 typhoon with 140 mph winds.LinksKadena AFB, Okinawa Facebook page