Typhoon Meranti Strengthens Quickly Into the Equivalent of a Major Hurricane

Typhoon Meranti intensified rapidly on Sunday into the equivalent of a major hurricane.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Typhoon Meranti was located at latitude 18.1°N and longitude 129.7°E which put it about 650 miles (1050 km) east-southeast of Taiwan.  Meranti was moving toward the west-northwest at 17 m.p.h. (27 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (215 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 948 mb.

Typhoon Meranti intensified very rapidly on Sunday.  A small, well formed eye developed at the center of Meranti.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounds the eye and additional bands of thunderstorms are spiraling around the core of the circulation.  The circulation is very symmetrical.  Thunderstorms in the core of Typhoon Meranti are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping out large amounts of mass in all directions.  Meranti is a very well organized typhoon.

Typhoon Meranti is moving through a very favorable environment. It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 31°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Meranti will continue to intensify and it could become a Super Typhoon.  If an eyewall replacement cycle occurs, there could be fluctuations in the intensity of Meranti.

A subtropical ridge is steering Typhoon Meranti toward the west-northwest and that general motion is expected to continue for another couple of days.  On its anticipated track Typhoon Meranti will be near northern Luzon, Taiwan and the southern Ryukyu Islands in about 48 hours.  Meranti will be a dangerous typhoon at that time.  It will be capable of significant wind damage.  It will also cause very heavy rain and create the potential for significant flooding.