Monday, May 21, 2012

Tropical Depression 03W Update #1

Invest 94W has strengthened into a Tropical Depression today. TD 03W was last located approximately 250km south southeast of Guam. Maximum sustained winds are estimated to be around 45kph with gusts of up to 65kph. It is currently moving westward at 10kph.

IR Image from NRLMRY

The infra-red image above shows the location of 03W which is south of Guam. We've highlighted the apparent location of the low-level circulation center based on satellite and radar data. We've also outlined the convective activity associated with the outer periphery of the system.

Tropical Depression 03W, as noted by the JTWC, seems to have characteristics similar to a monsoon-gyre/depression. It is evident because of its large diameter (for a usual TD) and the difficulty of spotting its low-level center. Further satellite analysis also suggests stronger winds are located away from the center. Nevertheless, recent radar data from NWS Guam show what appears to be turning in the returns (suggesting the location of a LLCC).

Current forecasts take TD 03W westward for the next day or so underneath the STR. A mid-latitude trough is forecast to move eastward breaking the ridge and allowing 03W to turn north. How fast this happens remains to be seen. As for the strength, 03W is forecast to move to an area with somewhat stronger shear which could inhibit development. Nevertheless, most computer models are still showing a tropical storm-strength in the next 3 days. Guam and the rest of the Marianas Islands should expect widespread rains, rough seas, and gusty winds over the next 24 hours.

Radar link for NWS GUAM: click HERE

We'll have a more proper forecast with detailed analysis in our update tomorrow.
Issued (0930 UTC) 530pm PhT 052112

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