Archive | October, 2014

Typhoon Vongfong (Bagyong Ompong) Noon Update October 9, 2014

Typhoon Vongfong (Bagyong Ompong) remains a very strong cyclone as it moves slowly across the Philippine Sea. The Japan Meteorological Agency maintains the estimated sustained winds at around 215kph with gusts of up to 305kph. THe Joint Typhoon Warning Center, meanwhile, has lowered their wind estimates but maintains Vongfong as a Category 5 Super Typhoon. The eye of Vongfong was last located approximately 800km south southeast of Okinawa or about 830km east southeast of Basco, Batanes. It is currently moving northwestward at 10kph.

Please watch WxCaster PAT’s in-depth Video Update below for more information and analysis on Vongfong.

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What we do want to emphasize with this update is that computer models and official agencies continue to shift their track westward. The latest consensus this morning is taking Vongfong very near the Ryukyu Islands by Saturday and Sunday. The possibilities are increasing for Okinawa to see Typhoon-force conditions around this time frame.

Forecast Track from JMA

vongfong jma track 2

Aside from strong and damaging winds, there is also the threat of very high waves especially along the east-facing shores of the islands. Wave heights of up to 5 meters are possible and could very well be life-threatening. We certainly don’t suggest anyone to be lingering near the coast as Typhoon Vongfong moves through.

Aside from the Ryukyu Islands, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Honshu will also get their share of Vongfong’s impacts. Heavy rains and strong winds will move northeastward towards Mainland Japan beginning Monday and into Tuesday.

We’ll continue to keep you posted with Typhoon Vongfong. We urge everyone living the islands to please start making initial preparations for this typhoon. Stay safe everyone!

Super Typhoon Vongfong (Ompong) Noon Update | October 8, 2014

Vongfong has maintained its Category 5 Super Typhoon strength as it moves across the Philippine Sea (please note JMA does not use the designation “Super Typhoon”, only the JTWC does). It was last located approximately 980km south southeast from the island of Okinawa. Latest wind estimates from JMA (JTWC) for Vongfong are at 215kph (285kph) sustained with gusts of up to 305kph (350kph). Vongfong is currently moving west northwestward at 15kph.

Watch WxCaster PAT’s latest Video for more information on this typhoon and where it is headed.

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Latest track from JMA shows a northward turn that should happen anytime today. It also looks like that Vongfong has reached its peak and should slowly begin to weaken by tomorrow. Nevertheless, Vongfong is still posing a serious threat to the Japanese Islands. The Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, are still in play to see typhoon-force winds this weekend. The consensus among the forecasts may still bring strong winds, heavy rains, and high winds across Okinawa. Amami-Oshima may see even higher winds as the center of Vongfong is forecast to move just east of there.

JMA 00z Forecast Track for Typhoon Vongfong

vongfong jma track

By Sunday and into Monday, Vongfong is forecast to head towards the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku and possibly maintaining a strong typhoon intensity. Heavy rains, damaging winds, and high waves will move towards that area beginning Sunday evening and into Monday.

For our readers and viewers in Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands, please start making preparations now. Any slight shift in the typhoon’s track will result in substantial changes in the impacts down the road (as they say hope for the best but prepare for the worst). And as always, heed the warnings of your local official weather agency. Stay safe!

-WxCaster PAT

Phanfone Beginning Big Turn — Japan Next: Friday PM Update


MTSAT Animated Satellite Imagery

Throughout the day Friday, we’ve seen fluctuations in the satellite appears for Typhoon Phanfone.  Recent trends this afternoon show a clearing eye as deep convection begins to wrap solid around the storm.  The bulk of the convection is found on the south side of the eye, with a weaker eyewall along the north.

The near-term forecast challenge is the major turn that is expected this weekend.  Throughout the day Friday, much of Japan saw a weak frontal boundary pass through, bringing increased cloudiness and periods of rain.  This feature–while bringing cooler temperatures for Japan–is responsible for the sharp turn to the east for Typhoon Phanfone.  Timing and angle of the front picking Phanfone up and pushing it eastward will be significant for the track forecast.  Out of the major agencies warning on Phanfone, Japan Meteorological Agency provides the westernmost track.  Philippines’ PAGASA has a significantly eastern track, followed by the United States’ JTWC.

Here are the take-aways for the near-term forecast:  Minamidaitojima is under threat for tropical storm-force winds throughout much of the day on Saturday.  Interests in Okinawa appear like they will avoid the worse of the storm thanks to the aforementioned front.  However, be mindful for gusty winds (up to 90 km/h) and increased seas on the eastern shore.JMA Phanfone Forecast

At this point, we look at the longer-term track forecast.  I cannot stress the importance to the near-term turn and its implications to any potential landfall in or around the Kanto Plain.  Of note, because of the eastern track from JTWC (i.e. an earlier turn to the east), the center of Phanfone avoids land with the strongest winds remaining over water.  If this track verifies, typhoon-force winds will remain off-shore with possible tropical storm-force winds affecting the Tokyo area.  JMA brings the eye over Shizuoka prefecture with the other agencies ranging between Aichi and Chiba.  Obviously any  minor shifts in the track, especially with regards to the turn east, will result in huge changes to the landfall point and it’s impact to those living in the Kanto Plain.

As of 0900 UTC Friday, the maximum winds with Typhoon Phanfone were 175 km/h with gusts up to 250 km/h.  Some additional strengthening is possible this weekend as the front begins to interact with the frontal boundary.  Thereafter, rapid weakening and acceleration should occur Sunday evening into Monday as the storm nears Japan.

JTWC Phanfone ForecastAs for storm impacts… winds will pick up in the northern Ryukyus and Kyushu on Saturday evening. We’ll see these winds spread across coastal Honshu throughout Sunday and into the Kanto region by Monday morning.  Beyond the winds, heavy rains will follow over much of southern Japan with localized flooding and possible landslides.  Models suggest that rainfall totals throughout the region should range between 100-150 mm, with isolated amounts up to 250 mm through Monday evening.


We’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted.  Stay safe.