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Remarkable Super Typhoon Nuri Maintains 180 mph Winds for 24 Hours

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 7:12 PM GMT on November 03, 2014

In the Western Pacific, Super Typhoon Nuri exploded into a mighty Category 5 storm with 180 mph winds on Sunday, and has maintained that strength for a remarkable 24 hours. Nuri intensified from a Category 1 storm with 85 mph winds to a very high-end Category 5 with 180 mph winds on Sunday. The central pressure dropped 65 mb in 24 hours, down to 910 mb, as estimated by the Japan Meteorological Agency. Nuri is tied with Super Typhoon Vongfong for strongest tropical cyclone sustained wind speed of 2014; both had sustained winds estimated at 180 mph by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Vonfong hit Japan's Okinawa Island on October 11 as a Category 1 storm, and killed 9 people and caused $68 million in damage. However, Vongfong was slightly more intense as rated by minimum pressure--the Japan Meteorological Agency put Vongfong's central pressure at 900 mb at peak intensity, 10 mb lower than Nuri's. Nuri may pass close enough to Japan on Thursday to bring them heavy rain, but a direct hit is unlikely. The GFS and European models are both predicting the extratropical remnants of Typhoon Nuri will become a sub-925 mb low in the western Aleutian Islands on Friday night and Saturday morning, with the 12Z Monday run of the European model predicting ex-Nuri will bottom out at 916 mb at 06Z Saturday. According to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt, the all-time Alaska low pressure record is 926 mb at Dutch Harbor on October 25, 1977, so ex-Nuri has a chance to beat that record.

Figure 1. Infrared VIIRS image of Super Typhoon Nuri as seen at 04:44 UTC November 2, 2014. At the time, Nuri was an intensifying Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds. Image credit: Dan Lindsey, NOAA/NASA and RAMMB/CIRA.

Figure 2. Visible VIIRS image of Super Typhoon Nuri as seen at 04:25 UTC November 3, 2014. At the time, Nuri was a peak-strength Category 5 storm with 180 mph winds. Image credit: Dan Lindsey, NOAA/NASA and RAMMB/CIRA.

Figure 3. MODIS satellite image of Super Typhoon Nuri in the Pacific at 04:20 UTC November 3, 2014. At the time, Nuri had top sustained winds of 180 mph, tying it for strongest tropical cyclone of 2014. Image credit: NASA.

Nuri is Earth's fifth Category 5 storm of 2014
Nuri is Earth's fifth Category 5 storm of the year, and the third in the Western Pacific. In addition to Super Typhoon Vongfong, the other Western Pacific Cat 5 in 2014 was Super Typhoon Halong, which topped out at 160 mph winds on August 3, eventually making landfall in Japan on August 10 as a tropical storm. Another Western Pacific Super Typhoon, Rammasun, was only rated a Cat 4 when it hit China's Hainan Island on July 17, killing 195 people and causing over $7 billion in damage. However, a pressure characteristic of a Category 5 storm, 899.2 mb, was recorded at Qizhou Island just before Rammasun hit Hainan Island. If this pressure is verified, it is likely that the storm will be upgraded to a Category 5 in post-season reanalysis. The Eastern Pacific has had two Cat 5s in 2014 that did not affect land: Marie (160 mph winds) and Genevieve (160 mph winds.) The South Indian Ocean has had one Cat 5 this year, Tropical Cyclone Gillian in March (160 mph winds.) Gillian did not affect any land areas. Between 2000 - 2013, Earth averaged five Category 5 storms per year, with 51% of these occurring in the Western Pacific.

Video 1. The cameras on the International Space Station captured this video of Super Typhoon Nuri on November 2, 2014. At the time, Nuri was an intensifying Category 4 typhoon.

Hurricane Vance a heavy rainfall threat to Mexico
Hurricane Vance in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of Mexico has likely peaked in intensity and should steadily weaken as high wind shear of 20 knots tears into the storm. Satellite images show that Vance has an impressive area of spiral bands and heavy thunderstorms, except on its southwest side, where strong upper-level winds are disrupting the storm. Vance was getting pulled to the north by a trough of low pressure on Monday, will turn to the northeast on Tuesday, but might not make it all the way to Mexico. The 8 am EDT Monday run of the SHIPS model predicted that wind shear would rise to 40 knots by Tuesday morning, which will likely be able to tear Vance apart before landfall. Flooding rains will be the primary threat from Vance; heavy rains of 4 - 8" will affect the Mexican coast northwest of Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday, and heavy rains of 3 - 6" may affect portions of Texas by Wednesday. In their 11 am EDT Monday Wind Probability Forecast, NHC gave a 4 - 12% chance that Vance would bring tropical storm-force winds of 39+ mph to Puerto Vallarta and the tip of the Baja Peninsula.

Figure 4. Hurricane Vance off the coast of Mexico as seen by GOES West at 9:45 EST (1445 UTC) on November 3, 2014. At the time, Vance was a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds. Image credit: NOAA Visualization Laboratory.

Jeff Masters


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