JMA has announced now our first Typhoon of 2016 as of 03UTC.
Typhoon Nepartak continues to slowly intensify today despite a moderate amount of shear keeping the storm from bombing out over the Philippine Sea.
As we look ahead though the storm is expected to escape the shear and move in to an area of favorable conditions for further development. At this time JMA expects the storm to max out as a “Very Strong” Typhoon and the JTWC is forecasting a Category 4 on the Saffir Simpson Scale.
Where is it now?
As of Tuesday morning Nepartak was located about half way between Guam and the Philippines moving North West at about 35kph. A relatively fast speed for a typhoon. The storm has been combating moderate vertical wind shear around 15-20kts keeping it from gaining a clear symmetrical shape. On IR imagery the vast amount of the outflow has remained confined to the northern Periphery of the storm. Despite this deep banding has started to set up to the south as Monsoonal moisture begins to feed in to Nepartak.
Tuesday morning also gave us the first glimpse of a developing eye on Microwave Imagery only though. Visible and IR remain blocked by overcast cirrus.
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. (Philippines will get a side effect from the storm though, see below)
By Thursday we will see the storm round the sub-tropical ridge and begin to re-curve. The exact location of this though is still uncertain but confidence has been building on it impacting Ishigaki, Miyako and Northern Taiwan. For the smaller islands though if the storm moves just west or to the east of a specific location could mean a vast difference in how the winds are felt. That is why checking back in on the track over the course the next 48hrs is vital.
The Strength Forecast
WMO forecasting agencies upped the strength forecast today with JTWC expecting a Category 4 typhoon by Thursday. JMA as well expects Nepartak to max out with winds upwards of 250kph on Thursday.
The wind is enough to not only light objects around but anything that could easily become air borne. The Southern Islands of Japan and Eastern Taiwan for the most part are built for Typhoon winds. Sloppy Prep though could make a huge difference. Even on a personal level.
The rainfall as always will be a major issue if the storm tracks closer to Taiwan. Even if it skirts the island rain bands could surge on shore ushering in up to 500mm of rainfall or more. This is common with the mountains of Taiwan as the steep hill sides act as a wall squeezing out any moisture that pushes on shore over the island.
Take a look at the video below from 2015 when Typhoon Soudelor hit the island.
The storm should stay west of the main island of Okinawa but as mentioned before even a small shift east could mean an increase to Tropical storm strength winds. At this time though it does not look like damaging winds will be in Okinawa. That means no TCCORS for military there.
In the Philippines expect heavy rainfall to dominate from Wednesday to Friday in Visayas through much of Luzon. This includes the Metro areas of Cebu and Manila. Despite the fact typhoon Nepartak will not impact the area directly it will still enhance the south west monsoon ushering in a “habagat” as it is known in the Philippines. Consistent rainfall associated with this type of event is known for causing urban flooding in the city and landslides along mountain sides in remote areas.
Outside of this storm there is plenty of weather going on across East Asia including China where flooding has been taken place. Check today’s Daily update for more info.
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.