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Western Pacific Tropical Cyclone Climatology – January

January Tropical Cyclone Tracks – Japan Meteorological Agency Best Track (1951-2016)
Cyan dots denote winds 65 to 115 km/h.

Happy New Year and welcome to a new month. Climatologically speaking, January tends to be a quiet month for the Western Pacific basin. Over the 66 years of the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) best track data, a tropical cyclone exists in the month of January roughly once every two years (0.55 per year). This includes tropical cyclones that formed in December, but persisted into the month of January. In 2016, no tropical cyclones existed in January while 2015 featured Severe Tropical Storm Mekkhala (Amang in the Philippines). Within the best track data, no tropical cyclones reached typhoon-strength.

The hot spots for activity are along the eastern bounds of the Philippine Area of Responsibility and near the western Caroline Islands, to include Palau and Yap state of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).  To a lesser extent are the Philippines, with the bulk of activity focused on the Visayas and MIMAROPA regions.  That said, risk on an annual basis is very low as this is the quiet time of the year.  Tropical cyclones within a 200 km radius of the aforementioned landmasses occur roughly once per decade.  Below is a statistical average of tropical cyclones to affect a region per year based on the JMA best track data, in no particular order.

  • MIMAROPA, Philippines — 0.08 / yr
  • Southeast Luzon, Philippines — 0.06 / yr
  • Visayas, Philippines — 0.09 / yr
  • Mindanao, Philippines — 0.06 / yr
  • Palau — 0.11 / yr
  • Yap, FSM — 0.15 / yr
  • Guam — 0.09 /yr

No tropical cyclones are recorded to have made landfall elsewhere in the Asian continent, to include the Indochina peninsula, China, Taiwan, the Korean peninsula, and Japan.

Bottom line, it should be quiet for the month, but never let your guard down.  It only takes one storm to cause a disaster, so be prepared!  -Mike

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New Years Weekend Weather Outlook, Snow and Tropics Remain Calm

It looks like a classic winter weather setup heading in to the weekend across Japan with up to 40cm of snowfall possible in Niigata and Nagano and over 30cm further north in to Hokkaido.

 

This is big news for those maybe heading out the mountains to spend their new years holiday in Japan. One of the biggest holidays of the year and prime for people traveling across the country.

 

With the snowfall in place and roads already packed be sure to plan accordingly if you are traveling, even in by plan or train as most of them will be booked up.

 

For those who want to take a look at the snow forecast check out the video below. This is mostly for those in Nagano but also discussing the weather overall across Japan.

Meanwhile in to China high pressure with the latest cold surge is dominating creating rough air quality. Today in Beijing the air quality is good but as this cold high dominates over the next several days expect conditions to deteriorate for much of NE china in regards to pollution.

 

Meanwhile in the tropics the North East Monsoon is dominating, there was another little low out south of Guam which is still there but I personally would not worry about it to much. Overall cooler northerly winds and scattered showers for eastern sea boards will dominating south east Asia over the long weekend.

This is just a quick update, so if you are looking for more information please do check out our facebook page.

 

Also want to note for those who are getting in to weather or want to get your information out there more we are always taking people in to type up forecast here on the website. Please let us know if you are interested.

TYPHOON NOCK-TEN LEAVES PHILIPPINES, WEAKENS EAST OF LUZON

At least 3 confirmed deaths but possibly more have been reported as of Tuesday morning due to Typhoon Nock-ten after it rolled over the Philippines on Christmas weekend.

Impressively there was not any more deaths from this storm for a few reasons. The big one was the fact it hit over the holiday weekend, a time when many people were just not paying attention to the news or if they were then were just straight up ignoring it and going on with Christmas plans. But what took place ahead of it may have saved hundreds of lives, mass forced evacuations by people actually going to low lying communities and forcing people to get out ahead of the storm.

 

This is fantastic news and truly represents the scope of change since Typhoon Haiyan just 4 years ago.

 

There still will be a road to recovery though, the worst hit areas of Camarines Sur seen about 60% of the local infrastucutre destroyed with most of the area losing power. Now emergency officials are working to get things back up and running but as always this is going to take some time.

 

Also good news is the storm tracked further south missing the highly populated city of Manila out of the worst of the storm. I am sure attitude this morning on this storm would be vastly different if it had actually rolled over that metro with 9 million plus people.

 

JTWC TRACK

Where is the storm now..

 

Now it is in a heavy weight boxing match with the North East Monsoon and losing. Dry air, and high wind shear will force Nock-ten (Nina) to continue to weaken over the next 48hrs eventually becoming a tropical depression over the south china sea. Great news for Vietnam and Cambodia who have been watching this storm in fear of a repeat of what we seen in the Philippines. For now though that does not look like it will happen.

 

 

Personal note:

 

Big thanks to the entire westpacwx crew and community for all the information put out during this storm. I personally already had plans over the holidays in Japan and was unable to write updates or put out videos. If it not for the team here and the fb page PTS I am sure this avenue of information would have not been available. I do hope it continues to stay that way though and helps more people out in the future.

NOCK-TEN INTENSIFIES, LANDFALL CHRISTMAS WEEKEND OVER THE PHILIPPINES

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.

sat

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.

track

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.

hwrf_mslp_wind_30w_41

HWRF MODEL

 

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. 

Official Track

 

JTWC TRACK

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.

15658689_1380107115335445_2137997105_o

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.