Issued (0430 UTC) 1130am PhT 011515
Tropical Storm Mekkhala (Bagyong Amang) continues to battle moderate wind shear as it moves across the Philippine Sea. The system was last located approximately 460km north northwest of Palau or about 900km east of Borongan City, Eastern Samar. Maximum sustained winds are at 65kph with gusts of up to 85kph. TS Mekkhala is moving west northwestward at 25kph.
IR Image from NRLMRY
Latest satellite image shows the convection associated with Mekkhala is still getting sheared west of the low-level circulation center. Moderate wind shear is limiting intensification which should bode well for the Philippines as the system is forecast to affect the country in the coming days.
Forecast Track (NOT OFFICIAL!)
Tropical Storm Mekkhala (Bagyong Amang) is forecast to steadily move generally move westward over the next 48 hours. Atmospheric conditions might become more favorable and we might see some intensification in the next few days. However, we don't really expect Mekkhala to become a typhoon. However, the threat of widespread rains is still possible across Eastern Philippines especially during the visit of Pope Francis I.
While there are still some disagreements among the computer models, the current consensus is taking Mekkhala possibly towards Eastern Visayas or the Bicol Region. Weather conditions in these areas will begin to deteriorate by Saturday morning. In our forecast track above, we expect the storm to eventually move northward but will still affect parts of Luzon and Visayas over the weekend.
If you are in the projected path, please consult with your local officials for the latest warnings and bulletins.
We'll have another update later tonight. Stay safe!