Tropical Storm Kujira Forms West of Wake Island

Tropical Storm Kujira formed west of Wake Island on Saturday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Kujira was located at latitude 21.1°N and longitude 158.5°E which put it about 515 miles (830 km) west of Wake Island.  Kujira was moving toward the northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 1002 mb.

Tropical Storm Kujira was moving around the eastern side of an upper level low.  The upper low was causing vertical wind shear which was causing the distribution of thunderstorms to be asymmetrical.  There were few thunderstorms near the center of the circulation.  Many of the thunderstorms were occurring in bands east and south of the center of Kujira.  Bands in the western half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 200 miles (320 km) in the southeastern quadrant of Tropical Storm Kujjira.  The winds in the other parts of the circulation were blowing at less than tropical storm force.

Tropical Storm Kujira will move through an environment favorable for intensification after it moves away from the upper level low.  When Kujira moves away from the upper low, the vertical wind shear will decrease.  Tropical Storm Kujira will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  Kujira will intensify when the wind shear decreases.   It could strengthen into a typhoon in two or three days.

The upper level low will pull Tropical Storm Kujira toward the northwest during the next 12 to 24 hours.  Then Kujira will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The high will steer Tropical Storm Kujira toward the north for 24 to 36 hours.  Kujira will eventually be steered toward the northeast when it reaches the westerly winds in the middle latitudes.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Kujira will pass well to the east of Japan.