Typhoon Bopha has leveled off in intensity as it continues to move closer to Palau. The storm was last located approximately 700km east southeast of Palau or about 530km south southeast of Yap. Bopha rapidly intensified from a Category 1 Typhoon yesterday to a Category 4 monster with maximum sustained winds of up to 215kph with gusts of up to 260kph. Typhoon Bopha is currently moving west northwestward at 20kph.
The National Weather Service has now issued Typhoon Warning for a Palau while a Typhoon Watch is up for Yap State. A Typhoon Warning means that winds greater than 73mph (117kph) are expected within 24 hours. Bopha is a very dangerous typhoon and residents in Palau must prepare now! The worst conditions are forecast to occur beginning Sunday afternoon and would last into early Monday morning. For more warnings and forecasts from NWS, please click HERE
IR Image from NRLMRY
Typhoon Bopha has leveled off and has finished the rapid intensification phase it entered last night. Nevertheless, latest satellite images show cloud tops are beginning to cool down again which may suggest another round of intensification could occur, especially as we enter into the diurnal maximum cycle. Another aspect to notice here is that the size of Bopha has significantly increased in the past 12 hours. An outer arm has developed which could actually bring rain showers to Palau and Yap as early as tomorrow morning (Sunday).
Forecast Track (NOT OFFICIAL!)
We now have a pretty good consensus among agencies and computer models regarding the track of Bopha especially in the first 3 days of the forecast. There has been very little change and we still expect the Typhoon to slam Palau head on tomorrow. Conditions are still favorable throughout the track and if Bopha doesn't encounter any eyewall issues, it may enter another round of intensification tonight (albeit at a slower pace). In fact, the National Weather Service is forecasting Bopha to become a high-end Category 4 Typhoon just before it hits Palau. Either way, it is very clear that a dangerous system is hitting the small Republic. Winds of up to 180kph along with rainfall amounts of up to 250mm are possible for Sunday and Monday. Yap will have weaker winds since it is farther from the system although tropical storm winds and occasional rains are still possible. Again, we urge everyone here to prepare NOW and to consult with the local officials for any information regarding evacuations, shelters, and other instructions. As always, tune in to your local radio and TV for the latest!
As for the Philippines, the track has been shifted slightly to the south by day 4 and day 5. This means that the landfall point has moved to the northern portions of Mindanao, particularly in the Surigao area. As of the latest forecast, the timing of the worst conditions could occur between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. After that, Bopha will towards Central Visayas impacting several islands and cities along the way. The system should weaken after landfall but may maintain typhoon status until Thursday. Keep in mind that the system is still three days away but be sure to start preparing now and always listen to the news for the latest updates. Bopha is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility by tomorrow evening (Sunday) or early Monday morning and when it does, PAGASA will assign the local name "Bagyong Pablo".
We'll have another update tomorrow. Stay safe!
Issued (1030 UTC) 630pm PhT 120112