*Video Update by Caster Francis
Severe Tropical Storm Guchol is now beginning to make its turn around the southwestern periphery of the subtropical ridge. The storm was last located approximately 630km east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. From JMA’s latest warning, Guchol contains maximum sustained winds of 110kph with gusts of up to 155kph. It is currently moving west northwestward at 10kph. We should note that the JTWC has been classifying Guchol as a typhoon since last night, PAGASA on the other hand, maintain their Severe Tropical Storm classification as well.
As of 5pm today, PAGASA has issued Public Storm Signal Warning #1 for Eastern Samar.
IR Image from NRLMRY
Latest infra-red satellite image continues to show a compact central dense overcast with strong convective activity in and around the center. The eye (which is visible on the microwave image) is still obscured on both VIS and IR Images. None of the rainbands are affecting Visayas right now and due to the small size of Guchol, we aren’t expecting any severe effects to the Philippines.
Continued intensification is likely due to the slight weakening in wind shear as well as the high ocean heat content across the Philippine Sea. JTWC has increased their peak intensity forecast and is now expecting Guchol to become a Category 3 typhoon by Monday. Likewise, PAGASA and JMA are also expecting Guchol to strengthen further and become a typhoon tonight or tomorrow (these two agencies are still classifying Guchol as a severe tropical storm).
As for the forecast tracks, we are seeing less shifts among computer models and forecasting agencies regarding Guchol’s track. Furthermore, the apparent weakening and turning of Guchol in the last 3 hours suggest that the subtropical ridge is starting to weaken which seems to be on track with the forecasts from yesterday. Looking at the JMA 5-day forecast track below, we can see that they are keeping Guchol off of Luzon with a distance of around 250 to 300km. Due to the compactness of this storm, we are not really expecting any severe effects from it except for occasional rains and gusty winds, along with rough waves, in the next 2 to 3 days. However, it is likely that Guchol will enhance the SW Monsoon so expect scattered rains to affect much of Luzon and Visayas this weekend.
JMA 5-Day Forecast Track
Guchol will then start turning to the north northeast by Monday and should start weakening by that time as well. Forecast tracks are now aiming towards Okinawa and residents there should expect conditions to start deteriorating by Monday afternoon. Worst conditions will be felt by early Tuesday morning. Typhoon force winds affecting Miyako Islands, Okinawa, and Amami is possible and people there should continue monitoring the developments, if not start to plan their preparations now.
Continue to check our site for more updates throughout today and tomorrow. Stay safe everyone!