The first named storm of 2016 continues to move north and intensify ushering in our first serious threat of a Typhoon in 2016. The storm actually has come after a 200 day hiatus of from having a named storm in the Western Pacific going back all the way to early December.
Where is it Now?
Tropical Storm Nepartak is located just south of Guam on Monday morning moving north west at about 10-15kph. It
has been moving through a area of low wind shear and over 30c sea surface temperatures both things that have been helping it grow in intensity.
Tropical Storm Warnings are still in place for Eastern Yap including the island of Ulithi which was devastated by Typhoon Maysak in 2015.
The Strength Forecast
Nepartak will continue to move in to more improving atmosphere conditions allowing it to grow in intensity over the next 72hrs maxing out its strength just prior to re-curving likely on Wednesday.
According to JTWC the max intensity could be around a Cat3 on the Saffir Simpson scale which seems completely reasonable considering the favorable conditions for further development. Even JMA which is traditionally conservative also forecast winds sustained around 75kts on Wednesday as the storm nears the Ryuku islands.
The Forecast Track
There is high confidence Nepartak will continue North West following the southern edge of the sub-tropical ridge located over the Ogasawara islands south of Japan. Through the next 48hrs this will stay consistent and almost certainly will take the storm east of the Philippines.
By Wednesday we will see the storm round the sub-tropical ridge and begin to re-curve. The exact location of this though is still quite uncertain. Models are still in a wide spread along with the agreement on different agencies in the western Pacific region.
If the storm was to track further west and hit Taiwan it would almost certainly bring a tremendous amount of rainfall. This is common for the island when it is impacted directly by typhoons. The high mountains that run down the spine of Taiwan act as a wall to squeeze out any moisture the storm would have. Take a look at the video below from 2015 when Typhoon Soudelor hit the island.
The sub-tropcial ridge could also weaken a little quicker and pull the storm to the North over Miyake Jima or Okinawa by Wednesday night in to Thursday.
Good news is the southern islands of Japan are fairly used to storms and a few simple preparations ahead of storm could make a big difference. During a storm it doesn’t really matter where you live on Okinawa you are undoubtedly going to experience high winds and are at risk for losing power. This of course means that there are some supplies that you should have in your house during typhoon season. Here is a bare minimum list of the things that I personally keep in my house at all times:
– Spare batteries
– Groceries plus for 4 days
– Bottled water
– Bungie cords and/or tie down material, (including trampolines, the US Military most favorite object to have launched across the island of Okinawa)
Of course this is a short list and just a start of preparations. A longer explanation can be found here.
Record Breaking Slow Season
We have seen one of the longest streaks with no Typhoons in Recorded history and also the second latest named storm to ever form in the basin this year.
Conditions have just not been favorable for storm development with high shear really tearing apart any storms that even had a idea of forming in to a named system. This has a lot to do with the dynamics in the West Pacicic and how the atmosphere has been changing from a El Nino State to a La Nina one. Regardless it sure has made for some unusually calm weather recently. Especially coming off of the record breaking 2015 Typhoon Season.