Friday, March 30, 2012

Typhoon Pakhar Update #4

Pakhar has rapidly intensified earlier today and was upgraded into a typhoon by the JTWC. Right now, the system was last located approximately 500km east southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Maximum sustained winds are now at 120kph gusting to 150kph. TY Pakhar is moving westward at a very slow speed of about 5kph.

VIS Image from NRLMRY

The latest visible satellite image above shows the storm sitting off the coast of Vietnam. We have pinpointed the approximate location of the center; the eye was partially visible this morning. As of this moment, it seems the eye is still underneath the thick central dense overcast (supported by microwave image). There has also been some dry air being entrained into the system which has stalled the intensification. However, the conditions around Pakhar remain favorable for further intensification. Trends tonight will be very important as to how high the peak of this typhoon will be.

Forecast Graphic, NOT OFFICIAL!

As for our forecast, we have closely followed the current consensus of the computer models. Our track is positioned slightly north of JTWC's and JMA's track forecast. Right now, we are expecting Pakhar to continue moving slowly westward overnight. It will then slowly turn to the northwest as steering flow shifts to higher levels in the atmosphere. Based on current forecasts, Pakhar could reach peak intensity later tomorrow into Sunday with sustained winds possibly reaching 150kph.

We are forecasting a landfall to occur very early Sunday approximately 180km to the east of Ho Chi Minh. TY Pakhar will then continue moving northwestward, inland into Vietnam. It should weaken rapidly as it moves into rugged terrain. In this scenario Pakhar could dissipate by as early as Monday morning over the Laos/Vietnam border.

We'll have another update tomorrow morning. Stay safe!
Issued (09 UTC) 5pm PhT 033012

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