WunderBlog Archive » Category 6™

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

A Record Early Start to Typhoon Season: Maysak the 3rd Typhoon of 2015

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:22 AM GMT on March 30, 2015

It's been a record early start to typhoon season in the Western Pacific, where Category 2 Typhoon Maysak, with top sustained winds of 100 mph as of 8 pm EDT Sunday, is gathering strength in the waters a few hundred miles east of Yap State in the Caroline Islands. Maysak is the fourth named storm so far in 2015 in the Western Pacific, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) database shows only one other year since 1945 with more named storms that formed during the first three months of the year--1965, when there were five named storms. Maysak is already the third typhoon of the year, setting a record for the most typhoons so early in the year. The previous record for early season typhoons (during January, February, and March) was two, set in 2005, 1979, and 1955. Major typhoons of Category 3 or stronger intensity are rare before April, and only fifteen such storms have been observed between 1945 - 2014. We already have had one major typhoon in 2015--Typhoon Higos, which topped out as a Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds in February. Maysak has moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots and a large area of ocean with sea surface temperatures of 29°C (84°F) before it, and appears destined to become a major Category 3 or stronger typhoon by Tuesday. If this indeed happens, it will mark the first time two major typhoons have been observed in the Western Pacific during the first three months of the year. Maysak has a ways to go to become the strongest early season typhoon, though--there have been two Category 5 super typhoons in the Western Pacific prior to the month of April. Super Typhoon Ophelia of January 1958 had 160 mph winds, and Super Typhoon Mitag of March 2002 also had 160 mph winds.


Figure 1. Latest satellite image of Typhoon Maysak.

The unusually early start to typhoon season is due, in part, to exceptionally warm waters in the typhoon breeding grounds just west of the International Date Line between 5 - 10° latitude, due to the weak El Niño event that is occurring. Water temperatures there are about 1 - 2°C (1.8 - 3.6°F) warmer than average. Also aiding typhoon formation this month was the strongest MJO event since record keeping began in 1974, which moved through the Western Pacific in mid-March. This MJO event generated an unusually strong band of west-to-east blowing surface winds near the Equator (a "westerly wind burst") that helped spin up Maysak and the storm that preceded it, Tropical Storm Bavi. This "westerly wind burst" will be strengthened by the counter-clockwise flow of air around Maysak, increasing the chances of El Niño lasting into the summer and potentially strengthening this fall, boosting the odds of a quiet Atlantic hurricane season.

Maysak a danger to Yap
Maysak has already dealt a heavy blow to the islands in the Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia, which have a population of about 50,000. Maysak passed through the islands as a Category 1 storm over the weekend. According to TWC's Stu Ostro, Weno Island recorded a wind gust of 71 mph (62 knots) and 5.60" of rain in three hours. All communications were down on in Chuuk State as of Sunday night U.S. time, so it is uncertain how much damage was done. Models predict the center of Maysak will come close to Yap in the Caroline Islands (population 11,000) as a major typhoon midday on Tuesday (U.S. time.)

There will be a new post by Tuesday morning at the latest.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

I asked Google a simple question..here...is the reply...a very scary one indeed.....just think of the upheaval of populations,think of the wars that would surely come..................well here is the answer I got............................................... ............If all the ice covering Antarctica, Greenland, and in mountain glaciers around the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 70 meters (230 feet). The ocean would cover all the coastal cities. And land area would shrink significantly.
Quoting 500. Dakster:



Neat info... 230 Ft sea rise if all the glaciers melted... That would pretty much take care of the vast majority of Florida...

yes think of the wars that would start as whole coastal populations all over the world tried to force their way inland whew..im wondering..maybe someone here knows...all along the contintental usa..how far would the oceans of in..at a 230ft rise in sea level?
Quoting 502. LargoFl:

yes think of the wars that would start as whole coastal populations all over the world tried to force their way inland whew..im wondering..maybe someone here knows...all along the contintental usa..how far would the oceans of in..at a 230ft rise in sea level?


Some of our very under-populated states would all of a sudden get crowded. There are only 700k people living here in Alaska. If you cut Alaska into two equal pieces, Texas would be the THIRD largest state... While portions of Alaska would surely disappear. There are a lot of mountains here... So I am sure it would dramatically change the make-up of this state too.
Quoting 441. StormTrackerScott:



Yeah people didn't like me saying that El-Nino would make another run for 2015 a few months back infact there was page after page of attacks saying I was off my rocker now they have tapered back as I was right this time around after the bust last year i had to redeem myself somehow. Blog literally went into a tailspin when I said that the 2015 Hurricane Season was going to suffer on the Atlantic side.
You still are off your rocker, take the advice from the article you just posted and wait and see if we get anything stronger than a weak to moderate Nino.
Quoting 487. Tazmanian:




no this storm is not similar too andrew andrew was a small but powerfull hurricane Maysak is a vary big storm
This is a small storm for a typhoon.
I see that we all lost our portraits?
Quoting 503. Dakster:



Some of our very under-populated states would all of a sudden get crowded. There are only 700k people living here in Alaska. If you cut Alaska into two equal pieces, Texas would be the THIRD largest state... While portions of Alaska would surely disappear. There are a lot of mountains here... So I am sure it would dramatically change the make-up of this state too.
im thinking many many miles inland of the east coast would be underwater..don't know about California but a sea level rise of 230 feet might take the pacific ocean all the way to the mountains whew...glad im old and wont see any of this.
well map wont post but even a 5 foot sea level rise at high tide would swamp most of the coastal USA..i cannot imagine a 230 foot SLR geez....talk about the end times.
ok hope this posts...map at a 200 foot seal level rise...kiss the eastern usa goodbye gee...
well none alive today will see a 200 ft SLR,one site I read said the earth was this warm if not warmer 125,000 years ago and there still were glaciers in places so we may never see a sea level rise of this magnatude
well sorry if I intruded,but sea level rise in the future could be a real danger to mankind
Quoting 405. Tropicsweatherpr:

Good morning.

MAYSAK looks very impressive as sun went down.




Beautiful, close to perfect, it's hard for me to wrap my mind around a category 5 cyclone in the northern hemisphere in spring.

Quoting 509. LargoFl:

ok hope this posts...map at a 200 foot seal level rise...kiss the eastern usa goodbye gee...


I don't think this is accurate, too conservative in fact. most of Florida is well below 200 ft elevation even in the center interior inland of the peninsula is at only 125-150 ft elevation max. Only the nature coast and parts of the panhandle including Tallahassee exceed 200 ft elevation.

However, we don't have to worry about 200 ft sea level rise anytime soon. A 5 ft sea level rise would be horrible enough for coastal Florida and other parts of the gulf coast.
Quoting 497. jpsb:




“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you”
― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow







While certainly a critical thinker could be labeled as such if that thinker really has ground breaking evidence that contrasts what is established. However, that is a rare event when that is the case.

You don't think that the majority of people who conjure up crazy conspiracies like ancient aliens, reptilian shape shifters, Obama :antichrist/communist/islamic extremist, chem trails, 9/11 coverup, and many more are thinking critically, do you?

I'm not trying to be obnoxious, and I hope I'm not, but just consider the point I'm making, most of the time the term conspiracy theorist does refer to people believing crazy ideas and usually is not associated as a label for critical thinkers. As I said, there are exceptional situations where that may be true, but for the most part, no.
Quoting 495. Caimito:

I understand what you mean, but if you lived here on Leyte Island when Haiyan (Yolanda) passed over us you would change your choice of words.
If you smelled the death; saw the desperation; cried the tears; and dried their tears; helped rebuild their lives, you would, I know you would, change your wording.


I'll tell you what, as much as I love severe weather including tornadoes and hurricanes, I only love the power they display, the adrenaline of watching the raw power of nature function based on what I'm learning in school is exhilarating
However despite that, there's a weariness in me of severe weather too of course, I liken it to how soldiers view war or at least how I would view war as a soldier. The intensity of war and the power of military might is impressive and produces an adrenaline rush, but the death and destruction that follows produces an equal reaction of seriousness and or sadness.

Me and my family did not party at all from the hurricane events of the 2004 and 2005 season. No offense to those who hold hurricane parties, but I just cannot and could not throw a party or be part of a party based around a destructive even like a hurricane. I mean no disrespect to those who do, but personally for me it feels distasteful and a sobering to think of of having a party while a hurricane ruins lives and property.
With that being said, when it comes to tropical storms are just big afternoon thunderstorms, it's just good exciting fun for me.

However tornadoes and hurricanes are more like war, I'm drawn to experience their power, but I'm also going to take them very seriously. In fact I remember specifically that the 2004 and 2005 hurricane season helped me mature some, it improved my study habits and overall discipline, it made me take life a bit more seriously, maybe a bit too seriously for a time.
Living in Florida during the 2004 season and not in one of the main impact zones was like the cold war, it felt like that we would inevitably face our doom. We sometimes pondered that what if the hurricanes literally didn't stop coming, would Florida literally collapse it's economy and everything fall into chaos?

I can't even imagine experiencing Haiyan, the damage looked like an airforce fleet came in and bombed the area mercilessly like it was an enemy stronghold until everything was ruined. It was hard to find pictures of property, homes and businesses without severe damage or destroyed.
florida with just a 10 foot sea level rise.............................................. ....
east coast with a 50 foot sea level rise............................................
wel im just a novice, but sea level rises IF this global warming verifies..ought to scare the daylights out of those in charge in Washington..my guess is there isn't a thing being done..hmm planning sea walls etc things like that, preparing in advace, not AFTER the east coast of the USA is under water huh.....some of you here are pretty good at this sort of thing..is anything at all being planned or done?...or is global warming still debatable and unproven??
ok i'll stop doc lol..but this should be made a hot topic in the future
Quoting 519. LargoFl:

ok i'll stop doc lol..but this should be made a hot topic in the future

Are you joking
Quoting 518. LargoFl:

wel im just a novice, but sea level rises IF this global warming verifies..ought to scare the daylights out of those in charge in Washington..my guess is there isn't a thing being done..hmm planning sea walls etc things like that, preparing in advace, not AFTER the east coast of the USA is under water huh.....some of you here are pretty good at this sort of thing..is anything at all being planned or done?...or is global warming still debatable and unproven??

Are you joking?