The first “Super Typhoon” of 2016 is now roaring its way north west Towards Taiwan this Wednesday ushering in the first threat of a land falling damaging typhoon in 2016.
Key Points –
- The storm is expected to make landfall in Taiwan Thursday night in to Friday Morning, the exact location is still uncertain due to the synoptic layout and how the storm interacts with the mountains as it nears.
- Damaging winds north of the storms track and flooding in the mountains of Taiwan will be the main issue.
- Ishigaki and Miyako Jima should still watch it closely as the right side of the storm will swipe the islands bringing damaging winds.
- THE STORM WILL NOT make landfall in the Philippines. Although the Batanes islands in the Luzon straight could see the rough weather. Plus the enhanced monsoon “Habagat” will bring heavy rainfall to Central Luzon through Visayas.
- Okinawa Honto could see some gusty winds and heavy rains on Thursday and Friday due to the outer rain bands of the storm. Winds are not expected to top 50kts on the island so a slim chance of TCCORS changing.
What is it doing now?
It is currently intensifying in the classic “Philippine sea effect” way. A region of low vertical wind shear and warm sea surface temperatures has allowed the storm to blow up from a weak Typhoon Tuesday morning to nearly a Cat 5 Wednesday morning.
The visible sat loop from Sunrise Wednesday morning shows incredible outflow from the storm, a well defined eye and a dangerous eye wall. Good news unlike previous storms in this area the size is not that large ranging only a few 100km across.
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. At this time there is also fair confidence that the storm WILL MAKE LANDFALL IN TAIWAN by Thursday night in to Friday morning. The exact location is still now known though and as we have seen in the past the way a storm interacts with the mountains of Taiwan depending on how it comes on shore makes a incredible difference in how much rain falls and where it falls. This is why residents here should check for continued updates and also prepare regardless for typhoon Conditions.
The Strength Forecast
WMO forecasting agencies upped the strength forecast today with JTWC expecting a Category 5 typhoon by Thursday. JMA as well expects Nepartak to max out with winds over 250kph.
The wind is enough to not only light objects around but also send heavier objects includes mopeds, trampolines, trees, and small cars. MAKE SURE TO SECURE EVERYTHING.
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.
Landslides are always a major problem with land falling storms in Taiwan, often coastal roads can be blocked and impassible especially just north of Hualien City along the east coast. The photo below shows where the highest threats of flooding and landslides are located.
Take a look at the video below from 2015 when Typhoon Soudelor hit the island.
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.
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.
Even though Typhoon Neparak will stay south of Okinawa Japan there is still the chance of consistent rainfall and some strong storms associated with the mass of convection located north east of the storm. This will trail along with it pushing over the Ryuku islands through Friday.
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.
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.