Archive | June, 2017


It’s been an unusually calm 2017 Typhoon Season in the Western Pacific. Yes we have a had a handful of tropical depressions (named by PAGASA) and two official tropical storms “Muifia” and “Merbok” but we continue to lack any typhoons as of the end of June. For those who are not used to the Western Pacific and the typhoons associated with it this highly unusual, even more unusual that the Atlantic has seen more tropical storms than the WestPac as of this time. This is due to a few reasons but instead of getting in to more of what has been happening, lets looking ahead at the forecast because the calm weather is set to change in the near future.

Not to be a model caster but the first thing that did catch my attention this morning was the GFS and NAVGEM numerical models kicking out pretty interesting outputs including a Typhoon Near the Southern Japanese islands sometime between the 4th and 7th of July. The GFS specifically has hit this same result for several model runs which lends to more confidence that something is brewing in the forecast. The ECMWF and JMA models still are not jumping on anything just yet but they tend to be poor initializers on tropical systems in the western pacific based on past experience.


Putting the models aside just by glancing at a satellite picture you can see that there is all sorts of convection flaring up. Including a Invest that once was a TCFA via JTWC (97W). This area is worth watching for now, most models are not very supportive of it outside of the US Military’s COAMPS and it will be moving closer to the rainy season front soon which should disrupt its convection.

Sat Upate

Elsewhere we see a tropical wave over the Philippines and another back towards Chuuk in Micronesia. But heading in to next week a proverbial match will be lit as the MJO is expected to move in to the Western Pacific increasing atmospheric instability and thus the threat of the development of tropical systems. This matches up with fairly well with the aforementioned numerical models looking to developing a storm in to next week.



The Final Point?

All of that jargon means in short that things are getting more interesting in the near future across the tropics, for weather forecasters (like myself) it is time to start to refresh those tropical forecasting skills and prepare ways of presenting the information. For the general person getting those emergency supplies ready in the event of a typhoon is always a smart idea. Even if you are not impacted in the upcoming week having the proper gear and plan in place in case of a incoming storm is always a good idea.


Is Japans Rainy Season Really All That Bad?


Shibuya, Crossing

Yes it is gloomy, cloudy and downright upsetting at times, but is Japans Rainy Season all that bad?

It runs like clockwork every year, as we head in to June – July the regular sound of falling rain drops patters away at my window most mornings at my urban apartment in downtown Tokyo.  Like most Tokyoities this time of year a umbrella is constantly on hand  or stowed away in a bag and ready to serve in the event of a passing shower. It is really impressive on some days how a area like downtown Shibuya can go from no umbrellas seen to everyone having them up and ready to go in the matter of seconds.  Its actually rather impressive.

The good news is that on most days during the rainy season the rainfall is rather light to moderate. In fact the overall amount of rainfall during the gloomy rainy season is relatively low, Tokyo typically sees its highest precipitation in the month of September during typhoons. High winds and thunderstorms are not very common as well and thus side ways rain and “kasa destroying” squalls are not likely. So for those of you that love to invest in accessories Japans Rainy Season is a great time to sport that new Umbrella.

This type of weather has a lot to do with the nature of the rainy season front. It is a product of the conflicting of two air masses. The retreating siberian air mass and the encroaching Maritime Pacific air mass. In the middle of this conflict we find the rainy season front. I actually made a in-depth video on this synoptic setup in the video below.

Despite the gloominess created by days of clouds the weather is relatively comfortable compared to the post rainy season mugginess of the Tokyo warm summer.  For a Upstate New York ski loving person like myself once the sound of cicadas set in I typically reserve myself to being indoors with the AC on. Thus the cloud cover keeping the sun at bay is not all that bad.

Plus there are plenty of things to do in June and early July in Tokyo and it is one of the cheaper times of year to get around.  I think that is one of the biggest appeals for me, the fact that it is “out of season” to travel around Japan during this time of year.  Thus train tickets/ plane tickets are cheaper, and most destinations that typically feature long lines and crowds are much quieter and in my opinion enjoyable. Despite the occasional drop of rain from the sky.

Lastly Japan during the rainy season is rather beautiful. Hydrangea flowers are blooming everywhere which is always a great site to see. (video below) But for me personally I love the brightness of green leaves this time of year.  I know that is not a common thing people get excited about but for me, it is certainly something I look forward to.

So as we head through June and July I will continue to be asked “when is the rainy season over?”  I usually respond with the correct answer followed by a reminder, that when the front moves north across Japan, that leads to hot weather and typhoons.

Tropical Depression Developing Near the Philippines


It has been a rather calm tropical season in the western pacific and the northern hemisphere for that matter thus far this year, but things are slowly starting to fire up, or more like a slow burn in the waters off the Philippines.


  • A tropical depression has developed west of the Philippines according to JMA.
  • JTWC maintains a “medium chance for development in the next 24hrs”.
  • Models take the storm north towards Hong Kong with the worst of the weather east of the city Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.
  • The rain should slowly taper off in the Philippines yet North East Luzon will still see showers associated with feeder bands with the South West Monsoon.

Over the weekend a area of convection blew up rather swiftly over the Philippines creating wide spread rainfall in across the archipelago. Since then JMA has upgraded the low to a “minor tropical depression”. At this point they are not forecasting a tropical storm but given the rate of development with the TD it is very possible.


The current forecast takes the storm north towards Hong Kong but models are varied on the intensity forecast with the GFS barely developing it and the HWRF dropping the pressure down to about 980hpa or a strong tropical storm but not quite a typhoon.

It should be a rain maker at the very least for Guangdong Province by Monday in to Tuesday. The video above breaks down what the forecast looks like and why it is tracking the way it is.