The globe is alive with tropical activity. Around the world, we find three active named storms (Philippe, Hilary, and Nesat), one tropical depression (Haiting), and two remnant systems (Ophelia and Roke). But with the exception of Typhoon Nesat in the northern Philippines and the remnants of Roke in the Pacific Northwest, none represent an immediate threat to land. Let’s take a quick tour around the world...
Beginning in the Atlantic, we have one active tropical system. Tropical storm Philippe, located 680 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, contains maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. The storm is facing moderate wind shear, limiting its intensification potential. It is forecast to head northwest into the open Atlantic, change little in strength, and is no threat to land.
Farther west, one time tropical storm Ophelia weakened to an open tropical wave over the weekend. Currently positioned about two hundred miles west of the northern Leeward, the National Hurricane Center gives it about a 20 percent chance of re-generating.
It’s been an active hurricane season in the tropical Atlantic in terms of number of storms. Colorado State hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy blogged:
Philippe is the 16th named storm of the season... climatologically we would have just 8 named storms by this date. Amazingly, 2011 is on par with the hyperactive 2005 season (in 2005 we were at the 17th named storm by this date) [in terms of number of storms].
But as only three of those storms have become hurricanes, Wunderground.com meteorologist Jeff Masters notes this year has been “near average for destructive potential.”
In the eastern Pacific, Hurricane Hilary is holding its own as a potent category 3 storm. It still packs winds of 125 mph but is forecast to steadily weaken over the next several days as it moves over cooler water and encounters increased wind shear. Nevertheless, by late this week, gusty winds and rain could reach Baja California and some of its moisture could work its way into the southwest U.S.
While no longer a tropical system, the remnants of Typhoon Roke, which raked Japan last week, have lashed the Pacific northwest U.S. and coast of British Columbia today. AccuWeather describes powerful winds associated with the storm:
Monday morning, the highest gusts to 105 mph were clocked on Solander Island, off northwestern Vancouver Island. At the southern end of the Queen Charlottes, 75-mph gusts were registered.
Meanwhile, in Washington and Oregon, small craft advisories, gale warnings and storm warnings for coastal waters were hoisted as of early Monday. High wind warnings were in effect for reaches of the coast. Strongest winds will end by late afternoon, Monday, south of the Canadian border.
Finally, as we cross the Pacific to its far east side, we encounter Typhoon Nesat. It is about 150 east of the northern Philippines, packing winds to 90 mph (a low-end typhoon). The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) predicts some modest intensification before landfall tonight (Tuesday morning local time). However, the latest satellite imagery ominously signals rapid intensification . Ahead of the storm 100,000 people have been evacuated from low lying, flood prone areas Reuters reported.
AccuWeather predicts up to 10 to 20 inches of rain in the northern Philippines from the storm but lesser amounts farther south towards Manila. Nesat will weaken over land, but then potentially re-intensify over the South China sea. AccuWeather is calling for a possible second landstrike in south China between Hong Kong and Hainan Island.
(For the sake of completeness, here is a link to information on tropical depression Haiting from the JTWC, about 135 nautical miles east of Hue, Vietnam. See also some information from NASA.)