Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Typhoon Wipha Continues Active Tropics In West Pacific

Typhoon Wipha is working northeast, brushing Japan today with winds that may reach 80 miles per hour. It is the sixth typhoon to develop in the Western Pacific in the last month, which is not entirely unusual given it is the hotbed of the world's tropical activity on a regular basis...and this surge came on the heels of a relatively inactive start to typhoon season over there as well.  Wipha has weakened from a storm that sported winds over 120 miles per hour a couple of days ago but will still bring a formidable about of wind and rain with it.

Wipha will brush Honshu, Japan's largest and most populated island, today. The center of the storm is likely to stay just offshore of the coast, which will spare Tokyo a potential bout of dangerous coastal flooding but will likely produce winds that could reach 70-80 miles per hour, along with a few to several inches of rain.

As I mentioned before, this is the sixth typhoon to impact the Western Pacific in the last month. The others, Usagi, Wutip, Fitow, Danas, and Nari has all impacted some land areas to varying degree, with Usagi and Fitow causing more significant damage to China and Wutip and Nari to Vietnam. Part of this has been due to the influence of the MJO (Madden-Julian Oscillation), which has been in a favorable phase for tropical development in the Western Pacific for the last three to four weeks and has helped fuel tropical storm and typhoon development in the Western Pacific, as well as in the Bay of Bengal with Cyclone Phallin.

Modeling does show the potential for another tropical storm or typhoon to approach Japan in about a week's time. However, areas closer to Asia (China, Philippines, Vietnam) should see a reduction in tropical activity as the MJO cycle eases east in the coming days and should reduce the potential for tropical development close to Asia.