Strengthening Typhoon Hato Nears China

Typhoon Hato strengthened to a typhoon as it moved closer to a landfall on the coast of China.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Typhoon Hato was located at latitude 20.9°N and longitude 116.6°E which put it about 225 miles (365 km) east-southeast of Hong Kong.  Hato was moving toward the west-northwest at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (150 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 978 mb.

The organization of Typhoon Hato improved significantly in recent hours.  A circular eye developed at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms formed around the eye.  The strongest winds were occurring in the ring of storms around the eye.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms developed south and east of the center.   There were fewer showers and thunderstorms north and west of the center of circulation.  Thunderstorms in the core of Hato were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the south and east of the typhoon.  Hato is a fairly small typhoon.  Winds to typhoon force extend out about 20 miles (32 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 145 miles (230 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Typhoon Hato is 10.4.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 8.3 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 18.7.

Typhoon Hato will move through an environment favorable for intensification until it makes landfall in China.  Hato will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 31°C.  An upper level ridge over China is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  The strongest winds are north of Typhoon Hato and the vertical wind shear is moderate.  The shear could slow the rate of intensification, but it is not likely to prevent further intensification.

Typhoon Hato is being steered to the west-northwest by a subtropical ridge to the north of the typhoon and that general motion is expected to continue.  On its anticipated track Typhoon Hato will make landfall near Hong Kong in 12 to 18 hours.  Typhoon Hato will bring strong gusty winds and locally heavy rain to parts of eastern China.  Heavy rain could produce flash floods in some locations.  Hato will also generate a storm surge along the coast.