Issued (0430 UTC) 1230pm PhT 100714
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Vongfong has rapidly intensified into a Category 3 Typhoon this morning as it moves across the Philippine Sea. The system was last located approximately 1,300km southeast of Okinawa, Japan. Maximum sustained winds are at 185kph with gusts of up to 230kph. Typhoon Vongfong is moving westward at 30kph.
IR Image from NRLMRY
Latest satellite image shows an well-defined eye has now formed over Vongfong's center. This eye is surrounded by strong and deep convective activity. Furthermore, radial outflow has improved dramatically over the past 24 hours. The weakened wind shear has really helped with the intensification tremendously. Those factors, together with the warm sea surface temperatures across the Philippine Sea, will help Vongfong intensify a bit more over the next 24 to 48 hours.
Forecast Track (NOT OFFICIAL!)
Computer models remain closely spaced with the solutions for Vongfong. We have shifted our track slightly to the west to account for the continued westward movement this morning. However, our general philosophy remains the same. Vongfong is to move west northwestward today and will enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility by tonight (earning the local name 'Bagyong Ompong' from PAGASA). It will also continue intensifying, perhaps becoming a Category 4 by tomorrow and even a Super Typhoon shortly thereafter.
By Thursday, we expect Vongfong to take a turn to the north as it rounds the Subtropical Ridge. The timing of the turn will dictate how close the typhoon will get to the Ryukyu Islands. Right now, model consensus is taking Vongfong near the Japanese Islands, including Okinawa, beginning Saturday and into Sunday.
Residents living in these islands are urged to closely monitor the progress of Vongfong in the coming days.
We'll have another update tomorrow.