Typhoon Vongfong intensifies rapidly as it approaches the Philippines

Typhoons vs. hurricanes: What's the difference?

With typhoons or hurricanes, rapid intensification is an increase in sustained maximum winds of 35 mph (55 km / h) in 24 hours.

From Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon, Vongfong easily met that definition, strengthening from a modest tropical storm with winds of 60 mph (95 km / h) to the equivalent of a major hurricane. The maximum sustained winds are now up to 120 mph (195 km / h) and the storm is still growing.

This area of ​​the world is no stranger to rapid intensification. Many storms undergo a rapid intensification every year due to the extremely hot temperatures of the sea surface.

But this is the first named storm of the season in the western Pacific.

It didn’t exist until Tuesday, and it will now pound the Philippines as the equivalent of a category 3 or 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The impact of Vongfong

Weather models had difficulty predicting the intensity of Vongfong, in part due to the small size of the storm.

Now that the storm has intensified so rapidly, there is no doubt that he will be more of a rainmaker when he reaches the coast.

“Heavy rains, damaging winds and a strong storm surge are all major problems with this storm,” said CNN meteorologist Tom Sater.

“A positive side of this small storm is that the strong typhoon winds extend only about 25 kilometers from the center.”

While harmful winds occur only along the immediate path of the storm, heavy rains will have a more widespread impact.

Rainfall of 100 to 250 mm (4 to 10 inches) will impact large areas of the Visayas and Bicol regions across northern Luzon.

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Vongfong will pass just off the coast of Samar province on Thursday, before making its first landing in the Bicol region, north of Legazpi on Thursday evening local time.

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After hitting the Bicol region, the storm will retain much of its force and move to northeastern Luzon on Friday evening.

“There is a possibility that the center of the storm may remain offshore,” said Sater. “It’s not a great possibility, but if the forecast shifts just 50 kilometers east, it would keep the worst of the winds and storm surges offshore.”

Slow start for the 2020 typhoonn

The Western Pacific typhoon season does not have a beginning and end defined as the hurricane season in the Atlantic, as storms can form during the year.

While the typhoon season’s peak is late summer, there are often storms named in winter or early spring due to the warm Pacific waters.

This is the last eighth start of the season since 1950, according to Phil Klotzbach, a researcher at Colorado State University. The last time we had a later start was 2016, when the first named storm of the season didn’t arrive until the first week of July.

The Philippines are located in the main breeding areas of the tropical Pacific. In an average year, the region is affected by eight to nine storms.

The late start seasons tend to be slightly quieter, but the evidence is weak, according to Klotzbach.

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