Sunday, July 31, 2011

Typhoon Muifa (Kabayan) Update #12

In an interesting development, Typhoon Muifa (Bagyong Kabayan) has rapidly weakened over the past 12 hours. Subsidence, dry air, and some shear have resulted into Muifa being downgraded back to a Category 3 typhoon. It was last located approximately 1,180km east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 195kph gusting to 230kph. Muifa has also begun to move north northeast at 10kph.

Recent VIS and IR images shows that the small pinhole-like eye continue to contract and cloud tops surrounding the center have warmed significantly. Furthermore, the northern side of Muifa continues to be eroded as well. A recent microwave image suggests that an eyewall replacement cycle may not be far behind. This happens when the inner eyewall contracts and weakens and another larger eyewall (outer) takes over. If it successfully completes that EWRC, there is a chance Muifa re-strengthens again within the next 24 hours. Conditions are still favorable near Muifa with weak wind shear and high ocean heat content.

My intensity forecast remains aggressive and is above the consensus among models. We are still basically forecasting Muifa to re-attain that Category 5 intensity by as early as Monday. It will however, slowly weaken as it tracks farther north towards Okinawa, back to a Category 4/3 typhoon by Thursday.

Computer models are now gradually coming into better agreement and it does seem that Okinawa is in the cross-hairs of Muifa right now. I'm forecasting Muifa to pass just south of Okinawa, within 150km, by Thursday. This means that the islands of Okinawa as well as Miyako could experience very strong typhoon winds from Muifa. It will then continue moving westward weakening to a Category 3 by Friday.

This scenario is still about 5 days away and I suggest anyone from Taiwan to Southern Kyushu to still continue monitoring this storm. As for our readers in Okinawa, it would be best to start preparing and assessing what the needs are, foods, blankets, etc. The islands here could start feeling those strong winds as early as Wednesday.

Our video update will be posted around 4:30pm today (Philippine Time) so please stay tuned!
Issued (0730 UTC) 330pm PhT 073111

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