Issued (01 UTC) 9am PhT 100814
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Super Typhoon Vongfong (Bagyong Ompong) becomes the strongest cyclone in the Pacific since Haiyan (Yolanda) last year. The system has rapidly intensified into the upper-reaches of Category 5 strength this morning. Vongfong was last located approximately 1,040km south southeast of Okinawa, Japan or about 1,140k east of Aparri, Cagayan in the Philippines. Maximum sustained winds are at 285kph with gusts of up to 350kph. STY Vongfong is moving west northwestward at 15kph.
IR Image from NRLMRY
Latest satellite image shows the perfectly symmetrical eye of Vongfong surrounded by strong and deep convective activity. Strong inflow feeder bands and excellent radial outflow also manifest themselves along the periphery of the typhoon. Vongfong will likely reach its peak today, far from land thankfully, and should start to slowly weaken as it turns northward tomorrow.
Forecast Track (NOT OFFICIAL!)
Our updated forecast track for Super Typhoon Vongfong remains generally the same from yesterday. We still expect the Vongfong to turn northward away from the Philippines. Furthermore, we expect the system to gradually weaken as it heads north. The critical question remains how close Vongfong will move to the Ryukyu Islands, especially Okinawa. The consensus among the computer models is showing a track just east of Okinawa by Saturday.
Out track is positioned closely to the model consensus. Okinawa and the rest of the Ryukyu Islands should expect stormy conditions beginning Friday and lasting into Sunday. The worst conditions for Okinawa will be around Friday evening into Saturday afternoon. Typhoon force winds of up to 120kph are possible with Amami likely seeing stronger winds. By Sunday and Monday, the stormy conditions will shift northward towards the island of Kyushu.
While we still have 2 to 3 days to prepare, we urge our readers across the Japanese Islands to start making some preparations. Always follow the warnings of your local officials and stay on top of this storm.
We'll have another update later today.