Thursday, June 14, 2012

TS Guchol (Butchoy) Update #7

Tropical Storm Guchol has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility earlier today and has been given the local name 'Bagyong Butchoy' by PAGASA. The storm was last located approximately 400km north northwest of Palau or about 900km east southeast of Borongan City, Eastern Samar. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 110kph with gusts of up to 140kph; just below typhoon-status. TS Guchol is currently tracking westward at 20kph.

IR Image from NRLMRY

Latest satellite images show the storm continues to develop nicely with expanding Central Dense Overcast (CDO) and very strong convective activity around the center. Guchol is also starting to develop an eye-like feature which we have noted earlier this morning. However, an increase in wind shear (now around 20kts) seems to be affecting the storm with most clouds being sheared to the west as you can see in the image above. But as we have mentioned, wind shear should weaken slowly in the next 2 days allowing Guchol to strengthen further.

Tropical Storm Guchol (Bagyong Butchoy) has tracked westward farther than we've expected. Nevertheless, we still think the storm will miss the Philippines, although it could be near enough to bring rains and gusty winds, especially across the eastern seaboard of Luzon and Visayas. Based on the latest trends, we think Guchol could intensify into a typhoon later tonight or early tomorrow morning. It will then start turning to the northwest by Friday as the subtropical ridge starts to weaken. Guchol will continue skirting the east coast of Luzon staying within 300km of the country. If intensification continues, Guchol could become a Category 2 typhoon by Saturday as it moves 250km northeast of Virac, Catanduanes. If conditions continue to improve, there is a small chance that Guchol could strengthen into a Category 3 by Sunday. By this time, Guchol will be around 300km east of Luzon and Tropical Storm winds are possible for the provinces of Aurora, Isabela, and Cagayan. The SW Monsoon will also be enhanced by the storm bringing scattered rain showers across much of Visayas and Luzon.

Forecast Track (NOT OFFICIAL!)

Computer models continue to show better consensus and our current forecast track reflects that solution. We have shifted our track a little bit to the west to account for the continued westward movement today. But again, we are not expecting a landfall anywhere in the Philippines. However, sea travel is discouraged as strong waves will be kicked up by the storm for the next several days. Meanwhile, medium to long range forecasts are also getting better with regard to Guchol's track. While there is still some amount of uncertainty, most forecast tracks are agreeing on a movement very near the Okinawa Islands by Tuesday. However, much of Taiwan (and even Eastern Luzon for that matter) is still inside our cone of uncertainty. Therefore, people inside this cone should continue monitoring the progress of Guchol. And always coordinate with your country's weather bureau for the OFFICIAL warnings and forecasts for your area.

We'll have another update tomorrow morning.
Issued (09 UTC) 5pm PhT 061412

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