Friday, June 15, 2012

Typhoon Guchol (Butchoy) Update #9

Typhoon Guchol (Bagyong Butchoy) is now starting to turn to the northwest around the subtropical ridge. Guchol was last located approximately 630km east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. The storm has also intensified in the past 12 hours with maximum sustained winds now at 165kph with gusts of up to 205kph although it should be noted that JMA is still classifying Guchol as a Severe Tropical Storm. Typhoon Guchol is currently moving west northwestward at 10kph.

As of 5pm today, PAGASA has issued Public Storm Warning Signal #1 for Eastern Samar.

IR Image from NRLMRY

Latest infra-red satellite image continues to show a compact central dense overcast with strong convective activity in and around the center. The eye (which is visible on the microwave image) is still obscured on both VIS and IR Images. None of the rainbands are affecting Visayas right now and due to the small size of Guchol, we aren't expecting any severe effects to the Philippines.

Continued intensification is likely due to the slight weakening in wind shear as well as the high ocean heat content across the Philippine Sea. JTWC has increased their peak intensity forecast and is now expecting Guchol to become a Category 3 typhoon by Monday. Likewise, PAGASA and JMA are also expecting Guchol to strengthen further and become a typhoon tonight or tomorrow (these two agencies are still classifying Guchol as a severe tropical storm).

As for the forecast tracks, we are seeing less shifts among computer models and forecasting agencies regarding Guchol's track. Furthermore, the apparent weakening and turning of Guchol in the last 3 hours suggest that the subtropical ridge is starting to weaken which seems to be on track with the forecasts from yesterday. Therefore, we have made very little changes with our forecast track. However, we have increased our peak intensity and there is a higher chance of Guchol reaching Category 3 intensity in the next 2 days.

Forecast Track

The track itself hasn't changed a lot. It should continue moving generally northwestward now and only light scattered rains are forecast for Eastern Visayas tonight. Guchol will continue moving 250 to 300km east of Luzon and should not pose any problems for the areas there. There will still be occasional rains and gusty winds, along with rough waves, for parts of Eastern Luzon and the Bicol Region for the next 2 days but nothing too severe.

Guchol will then start turning to the north northeast by Monday and should start weakening by that time as well. Forecast tracks are now aiming towards Okinawa and residents there should expect conditions to start deteriorating by Monday afternoon. Worst conditions will be felt by early Tuesday morning. Typhoon force winds affecting Miyako Islands, Okinawa, and Amami is medium and people there should continue monitoring the developments, if not start to plan their preparations now.

We'll have another update tomorrow morning.
Issued (09 UTC) 5pm PhT 061512

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