Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tropical Depression Helen (93W) Update #1

Invest 93W has developed into a Tropical Depression according to both PAGASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center,meanwhile, has issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert indicating a high chance of development for 93W. Since 93W is inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility, PAGASA has assigned the local name "Helen" for the system.

Invest 93W or Tropical Depression Helen was last located approximately 720km northeast of Virac, Catanduanes. Maximum sustained winds are around 45kph with gusts of up to 65kph. 93W/Helen is moving westward at 20kph. As of 5pm today, no Public Storm Warning Signal has been issued by PAGASA.

IR Image from NRLMRY

Latest satellite image shows the system becoming more organized with deep convection continuing to flare up, especially near the center. Equatorward outflow is also increasing while the northern side is a bit suppressed. 93W/Helen lies in an area of low to moderate wind shear and warm sea surface temperatures. It could be upgraded to a depression by the JTWC later tonight and could become a Tropical Storm in 24 to 36 hours.

So far, rains from Helen are not impacting the Philippines just yet. However, areas along the Bicol Region and into Eastern Visayas (Samar) could see light rains developing tonight and into tomorrow. The Southwest Monsoon (Hanging Habagat) will also likely enhance rains across Visayas and Northern Mindanao. Current forecast tracks for 93W/Helen are taking the system on a west northwestward course towards Taiwan by the latter part of the week. While the chances of landfall in Luzon is low, the system will still enhance the Southwest Monsoon in the coming days so widespread rains could return for much of Luzon.

We'll have more updates and forecasts tomorrow.
Issued (09 UTC) 5pm PhT 081212

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