Issued (01 UTC) 9am PhT 073014
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Tropical Storm Halong has intensified even further as it nears the Mariana Islands. The system was last located approximately 70km northeast of Guam or about 140km south southwest of Saipan. Maximum sustained winds are at 95kph with gusts of up to 120kph. TS Halong is moving west northwestward at 15kph.
As of 8am this morning, the National Weather Service has issued a Typhoon Warning for Rota while a Typhoon Watch is in effect for Guam. A Tropical Storm Warning is also issued for Guam, Tinian, and Saipan. Areas mentioned here will continue experiencing stormy conditions with strong winds and heavy rains. Please heed the warnings of your local officials; stay safe!
IR Image from NRLMRY
Latest satellite image suggests that Halong may have stopped intensifying, temporarily. The central dense overcast that was present overnight is no longer as well defined this morning. Furthermore, it seems the system is battling moderate northerly wind shear. Nevertheless, the core remains fully intact and we are still expecting Halong to resume intensification later today.
Radar Image from Guam
Latest radar image out of Guam courtesy of the National Weather Service shows bands of light to moderate and even pockets of heavy rain affecting the islands. So far, Guam Airport has already recorded nearly 120mm of rain since last night. We're expecting up to 200mm of rain in some places which may lead to flooding in low-lying areas.
For the latest radar images and warnings for the Marianas, please click HERE (NWS Website)
Forecast Track (NOT OFFICIAL!)
Tropical Storm Halong will continue moving westward this morning, passing between the islands of Guam and Rota. Strong winds and heavy rains will persist through the afternoon hours. We are also expecting Halong to resume intensification and could still become a Typhoon by tomorrow. Favorable conditions along the forecast path will lead to further intensification which could lead to Halong becoming a Category 3 Typhoon over the Philippine Sea later this week.
We'll have another update later today.