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Space Shuttle blazes into space; Utor pounds Philippines

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 12:58 PM GMT on December 10, 2006

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off last night in a rare and impressive nighttime launch, beating the weather forecast that called for only a 30% chance of success. Wunderblogger Mike Theiss took some fantastic photos of the event.

Yet another typhoon for the Philippines
Typhoon Utor (called Seniang in the Philippines) became the 5th major typhoon to hit the storm-weary Philippines this season, when it intensified suddenly last night from a Category 1 to a Category 3 typhoon (Utor is the Marshallese word for a squall line). The storm put on the burst of intensification as it approached San Jose on Mindoro Island, where the pressure dropped to 985 mb and top winds of 50 mph were recorded. There are no damage reports from this hardest-hit island yet, but Utor killed 3 and left 3 missing when it initially came ashore as a Category 1 typhoon in eastern Samar province at noon Saturday. Utor brought much less rain than its predecessor, Super Typhon Durian. Rainfall estimates from Utor (Figure 1) were in the 4-6 inch range for a 24 hour period. Durian dumped up to 10 inches in 24 hours. It is unlikely that the rains of Utor caused significant loss of life due to major mudslides and flash floods, but many more Philippinos will join the ranks of the 300,000 left homeless by Super Typhoon Durian. Utor did not trigger new mudslides along the flanks of the Mayon Volcano where over 1,000 people died in Super Typhoon Durian. Utor may intensify now that it is over the warm, open waters of the South China Sea. The typhoon is expected to turn north and threaten China and Taiwan later this week. NOAA has some nice satellite imagery of the storm at their West Pacific floater imagery page.


Figure 1. Rainfall estimates for Typhoon Utor from NOAA.

Super Typhoon Durian left 1339 dead or missing the Philippines, injured 2000, destroyed 118,000 homes, and damaged 212,000 homes. In Vietnam, Durian killed 89, injured 1370, destroyed 35,000 homes, and damaged another 182,000 homes. Total damage was estimated at about $31 million in the Philippines.

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.

Reader Comments

Thanks for the update Doctor. Hoping the damage in the Western provinces and islands is minimal.
I can't believe how rapidly it grew in between all those little islands. Most of the storm seemed to be overland at the time. The poor Philippines are just getting battered.
Here's a video about Typhoon Seniang.
MANILA, Philippines (Reuters) -- Tens of thousands of people spent the night in makeshift shelters as Typhoon Utor plowed through the central Philippines on Sunday, killing three and causing blackouts and cutting communication lines in the archipelago.

The storm, bringing winds of about 120 km per hour (75 mph) and gusts of up to 150 kph, hit Samar and Masbate islands overnight, forcing residents of coastal and low-lying areas to seek higher ground.

The Philippines National Disaster Coordinating Council said three people had been killed in the typhoon in the eastern island of Leyte.

Authorities evacuated some 76,000 residents in Albay province, where villages were wiped out by Typhoon Durian last week after its winds and rain sent tons of mud and water crashing from Mount Mayon, an active volcano, leaving more than 1,000 people feared dead.

Residents on the western island of Mindoro, 120 km (75 miles) south of the capital, Manila, on Sunday were advised to seek higher ground due to possible flash floods and big waves.

The typhoon passed just north of Boracay, a popular tourist destination known for its white sand beaches.

Utor, which brought rain to Manila, is expected to head out to the South China Sea during the next 48 hours on a path that could take it towards northern Vietnam or south China and Hong Kong.

"We expect the typhoon to intensify as it heads over the south China Sea," said Nathaniel Cruz, head of the weather forecasting at the Philippines' national weather bureau.

Utor could strengthen to a category 5 "super typhoon" -- with winds of more than 250 kph -- over the sea and is forecast to slam into coastal regions in the northwest of the South China Sea by Friday, according to www.tropicalstormrisk.com.

I feel awful for those poor folks over there. They have been repeatedly battered this year. My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of them.

On another note, the NOGAPS and to some extent, the CMC have been showing what looks to be either a tropical or sub-tropical system affecting the FL peninsula late next week.
Here's the radar from Hong Kong, in case the storm heads that way.

Link
Just go ahead and press cancel when it asks to download the language pack, the page will be in English.
The 00z CMC just has it meandering in the Carribean, nash.

I posted a summary of hurricane Frances in my blog.
Is it just me, or is Utor not looking so good on Mricrowave imagery?
Link
It seems to have completely lost any inner core.
Lets see how long this forcast holds up.

Utor looks like it is rebuilding it's core.



*image updates*
Is it jsut me, or is that storm the GFS is forecasting looking subtropical?


12z Run
My girlfriend's family is from Eastern Samar and Utom passed right over their home near Balangiga. There is massive damage to farms, schools and houses, but as far as they have heard there has been no loss of life, but there is not much comunications at this time. Most trees are knocked down and farms are washed out. There was no warning provided to the people in the area that the storm was approaching... a very sad fact!
look like its geting shear a part to me
Utor, or the New England Storm?
Looks like Utor's a West Pacific Lily.

Link
look like UTOR is geting shear a part to me
A. Typhoon (TY) 25w (Utor), located approximately 145 nm southwest
of Manila, Philippines, has tracked west-northwestward at 11 knots
over the past six hours. Over the past 12 hours, TY 25w has weakened
significantly due to interaction with 7500 foot mountains on the
island of Mindoro. Animated infrared satellite imagery and a 101221z
ssmis image indicate rapidly weakening deep convection over the east-
ern semi-Circle.
Firegecko~Thanks for the update. It wasn't really forcasted to strengthen so much on the weat side like it did. Glad you girlfriend's family is okay, must of been a pretty scary scene with the lack of warning.
'Seniang' heads out to South China Sea



INQ7.net
Last updated 11:55pm (Mla time) 12/10/2006


TYPHOON "Seniang" (international code name: Utor) has crossed the Mindoro-Calamian area and is on its way towards the South China Sea, the Philippine state weather bureau announced in its latest weather bulletin.

As of 10 p.m., the typhoon was located 140 kilometers northwest of Coron, Palawan or 200 kilometers west northwest of Occidental Mindoro, the bulletin stated.

Public storm signal number 2, signifying winds between 60 and 100 kilometers per hour remains posted in the following areas:

Occidental Mindoro
Lubang Island
Calamian Group of Islands

Public storm signal number 1, signifying winds between 30 and 60 kph, remains posted in the following areas:

Oriental Mindoro
Batangas
Laguna
Cavite
Rizal
Bataan
Pampanga
Bulacan
Zambales
Metro Manila
Northern Palawan

The typhoon earlier left five people dead, forced 90,000 to evacuate, and left five central Philippine provinces without power.
I keep hearing reports of no warning coming out of the Philippines. Yet I see news articles like this that speak of massive evacuations and storm warnings being issued. Are people that far out of the loop? Or am I not getting the truth? And what is the truth?
That was a very cool shuttle launch, I was able to see it all the way from here.
Utor looks to be restregnthening on satellite imagery. The Navy and CMC backed off on the Carribean TC.My blog's been updated,a summary of Hurricane Jeanne.
Nice burst of convection over the center.
Utor is looking one sided. I think they're going to back off that intensity forecast.



Mike
I never thought that the thing in the Caribbean was anything tropical; the 00z NOGAPS run shows a classic nor'easter (nothing at all tropical about it):



Notice that while it begins as warm-core, it rapidly transistions to a deep asymmetric (frontal, (sub)tropical storms do not have fronts) cold core system as it goes up the East Coast as a classic nor'easter (conditions are way too hostile for me to consider a tropical system for even a minute; also, the water along the East Coast is freezing, compared to what is needed for tropical systems, even "cold water" storms).
WWPN20 KNES 101520
SATELLITE WEATHER BULLETIN
MTSAT IRNIGHT WEST PACIFIC OCEAN
.
DECEMBER 10 2006 1433Z
.
12.9N 118.3E T4.5/5.0/S0.0/06HRS UTOR(25W)
.
PAST POSITIONS...12.4N 121.1E 10/0233Z VIS/IRDAY
11.9N 123.1E 09/1433Z IRNIGHT
.
REMARKS...SYSTEM IS ONCE AGAIN STRENGTHENING OVER THE PAST FEW
HOURS AS IT MOVES OUT INTO THE OPEN WATERS OF THE SOUTH CHINA
SEA. BUT CENTER IS ONLY EMBEDDED IN OW WITH DEVELOPING BANDING
TO THE EAST FOR A DT=4.0. THE MET AND PT WILL REMAIN AT 4.5 OVER
THE PAST 6 HOURS EVEN THOUGH THERE IS DEVELOPMENT IN THE LAST 3
HOURS. FT IS 4.5.
.
POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN 60 NMI.
.
NEXT BULLETIN WILL BE ISSUED BY 10/2200Z.
Seniang made landfall in the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar province at noon Saturday and moved toward the northern part of Tacloban City, southern part of Samar and into Biliran Island in the afternoon, before moving to Bantayan in Cebu late in the evening.

The typhoon maintained its strength as it moved away from the Visayas and slammed into Occidental Mindoro province, bringing down power lines on its way out of the country.

With winds of 120 km per hour near the center and gusts of 150 kph, the typhoon, the 19th weather disturbance to enter the Philippines this year, slammed into Mindoro and the Calamian Group of Islands, where the weather bureau raised Signal No. 3.

At the height of the typhoon on Saturday afternoon, the gustiness of the wind reached 136 kph, according to PAGASA in Tacloban.

Land interaction really took a toll on Utor but now as its emerged into the south china sea slow to steady strengthing looks like a possibility.
You're right look at the satellite loops
The 12z NOGAPS backed off on the system, Michael.
They already did, Wishcaster.

5 day forecast
Can someone please tell me why my images keep coming up like that?How do I fix it?thanks
I only posted the 00z run to show that there was absolutely nothing tropical about it; not everything oringinating in the tropics is a tropical cyclone, especially during the winter and spring (the cyclone phase should be examined in cases like this to see if it is tropical or not; systems originating in the deep tropics (south of 20N or so) are almost certainly tropical while systems north of are less likely to be tropical.
I know that, I used the term TC in my earlier post because I remember seeing someone say something about it being a TC.Thanks
To post images, follow this (simplified from the instructions I posted before):



The second is for images that are wider than 640 pixels. Where it says "Put URL here", you should put something like this in (this is the URL for the above image):

http://img384.imageshack.us/img384/8775/imagesko6.gif

It must end with gif, jpg, png, bmp, or another image extension; Web pages (html, php, etc) and documents like pdf files cannot be posted as images.
Besides, although certainly not great, ocean temps in the Carribean are still warm enough for a TC before transitioning to extratropical, no matter how unlikely that it is.
Thanks!
Got it.
Shear's a problem,though

You may notice that the code that I posted is an image; this is because there isn't any way to post it otherwise (if I tried posting the code, it would show up as a red X instead). Email is another way of showing somebody what the code should look like (it will show it when the recipient hits reply).
When posting imgages in Dr. Masters' blog, you should add width=640 into the code as I showed above so that the blog is not stretched out (you can make a link to the full size image bu highlighting the image code with your mouse and then clicking on the Link button and pasting the code in; make sure that there is only one "http://" at the beginning). You can modify your comments as well by clicking on the Modify Comment link below your comments.
Thanks
You may find this interesting.



Link
Actually, many images can be easily read when reduced, so making a link to the full size image is not necessary; for example, this image is 889x705 when fully sized; it is still pretty readable when reduced to a width of 450:



The Preview Comment button allows you to see what it will look like before you post (while the Modify Comment link allows you to change it, you can't preview it when you do so).
Here's one of my favorite shear maps. It's one of the most accurate ones I know of.

Kris,

You've probably seen this site, but just in case here it is...Link

Its got some links to a few really good websites.
I like this one better; it is easier to read, especially if you resize it (blue-black is low shear and green is marginal for development):

Also, storms are marked on the color maps:

The reason I prefer the other one is because it shows an actual satellite image under the shear map. That way I can see a picture of the cyclone and the shear under it at the same time.

I guess it's all how you perceive it. Either way works.
thanks guys.I've seen both.
my blog is on Hurricane Jeanne.
I'm not new to tropical weather.
Even though I joined night before last
I watched you guys blog all season
What made you crazy enough to join this kind of group! LOL!
It looked fun
I didn't comment on your blog, but I did read it. Overall I though it was good.
It is fun, among other things...LOL!
What did you notice about the HH radar image?
On the left side of the image
Look for an odd looking rainband
in terms of both shape and reflectivity
Honestly I found it very hard to tell whether the eyewall was collapsing or not. Radar judgment is not my forte
I remember though, the day it made landfall the eye looked very ragged.
For some reason, the outline of the Florida coast was on their radar image, in purple and red.Look closely.It's too linear to be a real rainband.
Hurricane Jeanne was a strange storm, in that it started out very small and ended up growing to a much large proportion.
For some reason,the outline of the East Florida coast showed up on the image.It is the area of high reflectivity too linear to be a rainband.Also, you can see Lake Okkeechobee as an area of low reflectivity inland of the coast.
I didn't even notice that before! It really makes no difference to me. I just wouldn't use that radar.
It's the Hurricane Hunter onboard radar.
Link
Don't try loading the loops, just look at the composite images
How old are you Kris?
I am 16 years old.
What does Dr. Masters blog on during the offseason?
It is hard to tell your handles apart when you post like that. I'm losing my grip!
There is no off season. Or is there?
Boy boy boy! The world is full of boys!!!
You kind of remind me of a young STL Kris.
You've seen this website?Go to Basic Topics, Order of links in Weather Prediction Book,Then Haby Hints.Best site on the Web.
Link
I geuss that was a compliment.Thanks
Is it just me, or was the Meteosat-8 shifted further east?


I geuss it's not really needed this time of year
Of course it was a complement, you don't need to worry about any backhanded complements from Wishcaster!
What does he talk about during the off-season? Some of the stuff he has talked about recently, like tropical storms elsewhere (there are almost always storms somewhere in the world), weather and not-so-weather related news, etc, and winter storms, severe weather and stuff like that.
No, it looks the same to me. But i've been wrong many a time before.
Anybody want to have a forecast contest for tomorrow's weather?
Right now i'm in political winter mode. Until next season Atlantic. What i'm usually good with is historical stuff. Old hurricanes, winter storms and what not.
Forecast competition? Intriguing I do say so myself!
Pick a city
We'll forecast in a
Hi temp/low temp/precip format
The CIMSS Meteosat-8 images have always been further east than the ones from SSD. By the way, here is a very good site for Met-8 images; you can see the entire globe that is visible from the satellite, not just a small area. Oh, they also update once an hour, not once every six hours.
Battle Ground WA?
We'll judge it by error points:
One point for every degree error in the high and low temperatures, and 1 point for every 10% your precip forecast is off by
Submissions in by midnight EST
sounds good
INQ7.net
Last updated 06:35am (Mla time) 12/11/2006


Typhoon Seniang (international codename: Utor) maintained its strength while over Luzon Sea and continued on its way towards the South China Sea, the Philippine state weather bureau announced in its latest weather bulletin.

As of 5 a.m. Monday, the typhoon was located 220 kilometers west northwest of Coron, Palawan or 280 kms west northwest of Occidental Mindoro, the bulletin of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) stated.

Its strength remained at 120 kph near the center and gusts of up to 150 kph as it moved west northwest towards the South China Sea at 15 kph, PAGASA said
Our obs will come from the Vancouver,Pearson Field Airport
How many days or day is this forecast supposed to be?
That allright?
I was planning for tomorrow.Or longer if you want
Which point is it on this map?Link
and 1 point for every 10% your precip forecast is off by

How do you judge that? It either rains (100%) or it doesn't (0%).
It's the big red star.
That's what I was thinking. I'm sure it's going to rain here tonight, 100% sure of that!
The temp. is going to be the tricky part. The forecasters here almost never get the low or high temp. right during the winter.
Summer temps are easy though.
Here's my forecast.

100% chance of rain showers ovrnight, low 43.

tomorrow 110% chance of rain, high 50.

Vancouver, WA



Mail call for Kris!
Saints VS Cowboys..8:15est NBC
Nationwide.....
I've got 40/58/100% chance of rain
Hey guys, I'm gonna start posting daily weather discussions for Florida on my blog. Also, I will be posting them on my new site

Florida Weather

Alot of info about florida weather can be found there, and more will be added.

See you guys on the blog, and feel free to join in on it daily :)
80 yard tough down for the Dallas Cowboys!

Go Cowboys!
Saints TOUCHDOWN!!..P.S. The Dallas run was 77yards...not 80.2
6:48..88yd drive,,Dats football.!
Tie game.
er.another touchdown..Saints
The Saints are Coming...
Its not too late to help...Heres HowLink
Ah drats!
It's not over til it's over.
Touchdown Saints.
My new forecast is 40 as the low,55 as the high, anda 100% chance of rain
Quick get Emmitt Smith to show these boys a few choice moves...maybe a few mambo steps or how to waltz away from those Saints and down the field to the goal post....LOL
Hmmmm, got some sort of bounce page off your link, CycloneBuster.

Lots of moisture here in SE Texas to get pulled north. Houston forecast discussion calls it a warm front, but surface analysis shows a couple of weak waves in the Gulf.
Works great!

Here's an interesting link. Not exactly the troposphere, but I'm reminded of Buckminster Fuller's reply to the question of when man would go to space: "We are in space."
Same web site, story on Durian aftermath. Not good news.

Saints 42...dallas 17..FINAL
One mo Beer and Milk & Cookies!...LOL
So hard to read those, Bappit.
145. 882MB
SIGNS OF EL NINO ARE APPROACHING I JUST READ THE ORLANDO, FL DISCUSSION AND THERE SAYING THE SUBTROPICAL JET STREAM WILL BECOME VERY ACTIVE LATE THIS WEEK LEADING TO A LOW TO FORM IN THE GULF AND BRING SOME BAD WEATHER TO FLORIDA!
Saints Fans this Monday Morning!" width="425" height="350" alt="5" />
There are some 45 to 50kt winds down around the Yucatan but, nothing at the surface right now. TPC surface map shows a low @ 48 hrs but looses it at 72.
WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY RUSKIN FL

THE BIG CHANGE IN THE 00Z GFS CONCERNS SFC LOW
PRES DEVELOPMENT IN THE CENTRAL GULF ON THE TAIL END OF THE
AFOREMENTIONED BOUNDARY. GFS SHOWS THIS LOW PROGGED TO MOVE NE
TOWARD THE PENINSULA LATE IN THE WEEK INTO THE WEEKEND...WITH GOOD
CHANCE FOR SHOWERS (IN THE OVERRUNNING ZONE NE OF THE SFC LOW OR
JUST NORTH OF THE WARM FRONT) BASICALLY FROM LATE THU THROUGH THE
FIRST HALF OF THE WEEKEND. GFS SUGGESTS THE MOVEMENT AND TIMING OF
THIS SFC LOW TO BE RATHER SLOW GIVEN THE MEANDERING MID/UPR LOW
TAKING ITS TIME MOVING ACROSS THE GULF. INITIALLY...THIS GFS
SOLUTION SEEMED TO BE AN OUTLIER...HOWEVER LATEST 00Z ECMWF IS NOW
ALSO SUGGESTING THAT A GULF SFC LOW WILL EVENTUALLY DEVELOP...
HOWEVER IT IS MUCH SLOWER WITH ITS DEVELOPMENT (HOLDS OFF UNTIL THE
WEEKEND) AND IS MUCH WEAKER WITH THE LOW. SINCE ALL THE MODELS
GENERALLY SHOW A SOUTHERN STREAM SHORT WAVE MOVING ACROSS THE GULF
LATE IN THE WEEK OR DURING THE WEEKEND...SOME SORT OF EASTERN GULF
SFC LOW DEVELOPMENT IS ALSO LIKELY.
Good morning Pulse.
Morning Rand! Could be an interesting week shaping up!
Sure could Pulse. I hope this is a sloppy one. We need the rain.
Yes, It would be nice to log in some precip.
153. 882MB
IF YOU SEE THE WESTER CARRIBEAN SATELLITE PICTURE YOU CAN ALREADY SEE THIS WEEKS RAIN MAKER IN THE MAKING RIGHT BY YUCATAN. THIS SYSTEM WILL SLOWLY MOVE NORTH! ANYWAYS WE NEED THE RAIN HERE IN S.FLA!
The 10day GFSx showing the Storm doing the rain thing over Florida..Link
I see I'm not the only one salivating over FL rain:)

Interesting on the models as well is over toward the Azores ~ Phase analisis for the NOGAPS & the GFS.
Looks to be a SMALL WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY opening up in the shear catagory, still 15 to 20kts though.
For those interested How the Corps of Engineers Designs is coming along here.With an overview of How we stay dry.Link
hello hello hello how's come no one missed me??? looking forward to the supposed rain maker in Fl, glad we got the outside decorations done, but hope that doesn't invite a storm.....jo
Patrap: Just a question..if another storm surge should come in the city of New Orleans like it did when Katrina hit, where will all the displaced water go when all these levee gates are closed. I would think that still there would be flooding from breaches in those weak spots and the levees are not high enough to contain all that water....
The south shore Levees are 19 ft...The Whole system is designed for only a cat-3..Anything Higher requires everyone Out and Above the Lake..period.If Katrina would have slipped 30 miles more west.Well..they would still be pumping it out.
The water would just rise to its Surge Height.But..Im sure that if something came again like Katrina..Those who now know wouldnt hesitate to evac...
The Katrina Lake Surge on the S Shore..was 17ft..Imagine the Bay St.Louis..or Waveland surge of 27-30 ft here.Thats the Nightmare scenario.Katrina wasnt the Big one here.We were on the west side.Luckily...if I may say.
By looking at the Katrina Local landfall radar loop..one can see how the water was driven in to the Lake by the Cyclonic flow.Notice the clock at the end of the Loop.Its 0900am cst.The hour the Levees failed here.As the storm was due east of my area.Its disturLinkbing still for me to run it.
Thank you. This helps to clarify things a bit. May there never be another Katrina for New Orleans.
Here the ONLY video period..Of the 17th St. Canal failing..This was shot by fireman in the Marina Lake towers condo..!.5 miles east of Me.
The condo that the video below was shot from ..is the One on the left in this view from the dry side of the 17th St. Canal..around Sept 14th.The sealed breach is on the right ..and water being pumped out of the city proper.5
167. 882MB
THE NEW 12UTC GFS HAS COME OUT AND STILL DEVELOPS LOW PRESSURE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO WHICH MOVES OVER FLORIDA SOMETIME BY THE END OF THIS WEEK!HOPE ITS AGOOD RAINMAKER BECAUSE WE ARE DRY!
A Rutgers link..Link
The 10Day GFSx..showing the Fla event...Link
Watch and listen LIVE! to the shuttle mission onNASA TV with this link...Windows Media Viewer is the best one..
Afternoon All! Lower level convergance is not as broad as this morning and more focused on the area in question in the NW Carrib.