Tropical storm Nock-ten has become our 26th named storm of 2016 in the North West pacific this week and threatens to be yet another typhoon to impact the Philippines in the month of December. This one truly bears the “Grinch Storm” name though as it may run right over the metro area of the NCR (greater Manila) on Christmas Sunday as a Typhoon or a tropical storm.
This is why I highly suggest at the start of this post to continue to monitor the forecast over the coming days and be ready to change your plans if need be. Baby Jesus will completely understand if decide to stay home instead of venturing out in a typhoon to attend mass.
Nock-ten at this time is located near Yap and East of Palau around 9N 139 E. Throughout the day we have seen this slowly developing and likely if the current atmospheric conditions in the Philippine sea do not change as we head in to the weekend Nock-ten will strengthen to a typhoon.
Where exactly will it go?
For starters the chance of it re-curving as we mentioned could be possible yesterday continues to dwindle. At this time it looks like this will make some sort of landfall in the Philippines. The highest threat area is the coast of Samar through Southern Luzon and inland. This is where the over all back ground flow points and where numerical guidance is leaning.
One of the more aggressive models the “HWRF” takes the storm as a typhoon near Manila on Christmas night, this scenario seems unlikely but just the fact that models are spitting out that scenario should be putting people on alert even in the NCR area.
Do note that even though that model is higher than the other do not rule it out, the Philippine sea has a tendency to rapidly intensify storms prior to landfall.
Latest official forecast tracks bring the system into southern Luzon very late on Christmas day however, strength estimates on landfall differ between J.T.W.C. and J.M.A.
J.T.W.C. is showing a system with 95kt (176kph) sustained winds, a “very strong typhoon” on the J.M.A. scale, or, a strong CAT 2 equivalent typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson scale, while J.M.A. is indicating a much weaker system at only 50kt (93kph) sustained winds, a tropical storm equivalent on the Saffir-Simpson scale, or, a “severe tropical storm” on the J.M.A. strength scale.. This difference is due to the changing atmospheric profiles and the disparity between computer-generated forecast models.
It should be noted, and not trivially, that where you are in relation to this system when/if it makes landfall will determine how strong the winds are at your location.
Due to the established strong northeast monsoon, or “amihan”, locations to the north of the system’s center of circulation will see stronger winds than locations to the south.
Winds could be up to 40-50kph stronger in these locations immediately north of the center. The storm will also enhance the “amihan”, meaning a much more extensive wind field in the northern half, and specifically in the northwestern quadrant, of the system.
Conversely, if you are located to the south of the system, winds will be strong, but not as strong as the northwestern portion of the system.
In short, if you are north of the storm even in northern Luzon due to the interaction with the monsoon you may see tropical storm strength winds at least with areas just north of the storms track maybe surprisingly high.
Good news is it looks like it should be moving at a decent pace over the Philippines and will leave improving conditions behind it as we head in to Tuesday.