Utor continues to rapidly intensify–typhoon threat remains for Luzon

Today, Utor (Labuyo) looks like it’s near/at typhoon strength as continued rapid intensification occurred throughout the night and into this morning.  Latest satellite imagery indicates a small eye has formed.  Even JMA now is initializing the storm as a 60 kt-severe tropical storm.  However, their forecast track remains suspect.  JMA, the northern outlier, maintains that the center of Utor will pass just north of Aparri on Monday.  Meanwhile, nearly every other meteorological agency in the Western Pacific focus on a Cagayan/Isabela landfall for Monday with JTWC, the southern outlier, looking at an Aurora-landfall.  Considering the storm is still moving westward and blocking high pressure remains to the north, the southerly solutions appear more reasonable.  The next challenge will be intensity for landfall.  Majority of the WPAC meteorological agencies are looking at minimal typhoon strength… however, considering the latest satellite presentation, we should surpass that level later tonight.  With shear being very light, water temperatures around 30-31 °C, and good outflow aloft, the current intensification trend doesn’t appear to be waning.  JTWC is currently forecasting 90 kt prior to landfall and again over Luzon, suggesting 95-100 kt may be possible at landfall.  The CHPS ensemble, on the other hand, rapidly intensify Utor toward a category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.  Utor will definately bear watching through the weekend as it’s posed to be a high wind, heavy rainfall, flash flood, and mudslide threat to portions of Luzon–including the Bicol Region.

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pit6EYMSQmM”%5D

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