Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong) Update #5

Tropical Storm Washi (Bagyong Sendong) is now strengthening at a quicker pace as it moves closer towards the Philippines. The storm was last located approximately 250km west of Palau or about 750km east northeast of Davao City. Maximum sustained winds are now at 65kph gusting to 90kph. TS Washi is moving westward at 30kph.

As of posting time, PAGASA has now released Signal Warnings in anticipation of Washi (Sendong). Signal #1 is in effect for Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Leyte Provinces, Camotes Island, Bohol, Surigao Del Norte, Siargao Island, Surigao Del Sur, Dinagat Province, Agusan Provinces, and Misamis Oriental.

TS Washi moved over Palau earlier today, bringing breezy conditions along with rain showers. The storm was not that strong then; Koror only reported maximum winds of around 40-50kph and a minimum pressure of around 1002mb. During the past 6 hours though, the system has really gotten itself together. Infrared satellite shows cloud tops continue to cool and a central dense overcast beginning to become organized. The image below is what we call a microwave satellite image which looks through the clouds (like an xray). In this particular image, we can see that Washi seems to have begun forming an ill-defined eyewall. While it has a small chance of becoming a typhoon due to very fast movement, it could still rapidly intensify within the next 12 to 24 hours.

Again, due to fast forward speed, TS Washi has roughly 24 hours left before it begins to interact with Mindanao. We have not changed our forecast significantly and are still expecting a landfall to occur sometime tomorrow afternoon or early evening. TS Washi is forecast to move near Surigao and then cross into the Central Visayas, affecting Bohol, Cebu, and Negros. Washi will then move into Sulu Sea by Saturday morning. It should then begin affecting Palawan by late Saturday night. Medium-term forecast shows that Washi could exit the PAR by Sunday morning.

Personal Forecast (NOT OFFICIAL)

A new low pressure area was also spotted today. Invest 96W is located well southeast of Guam and does not pose any immediate threat to land. It has a LOW chance of developing into a storm although we'll continue monitoring this system.

We'll have more updates tomorrow, please stay safe!
Issued (09 UTC) 5pm PhT 121511

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