Typhoon Lan Heads North and Strengthens

Typhoon Lan headed northward and strengthened on Thursday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Typhoon Lan was located at latitude 19.2°N and longitude 130.0°E which put it about 550 miles (885 km) south-southeast of Okinawa.  Lan was moving toward the north at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 125 m.p.h. (200 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 956 mb.

Lan strengthened into a large powerful typhoon on Thursday.  A big circular eye developed at the core of Typhoon Lan.  The eye was not perfectly clear.  There was a small area of convection at the center of the eye and there was a clear moat around that area.  A ring of thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Multiple bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the typhoon.  Lan is a very large typhoon.  Winds to typhoon force extended out up to 140 miles (225 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out up to 305 miles (490 km) from the center

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Typhoon Lan was 16.5.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 46.8 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 63.3.  The circulation of Typhoon Lan is almost as large as the circulation of Hurricane Sandy was when Sandy hit the U.S. in 2012.

Typhoon Lan will be moving through an environment favorable for further intensification.  Lan will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move through and area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Typhoon Lan could intensify into the equivalent of a major hurricane during the next day or two.

Typhoon Lan is moving around the western end of a subtropical ridge which is steering the typhoon toward the north.  Lan is likely to continue to move toward the north on Friday.  The typhoon will be affected by westerly winds when it moves farther north.  Those winds will cause Typhoon Lan to move more toward the north-northeast during the weekend.  On its anticipated track the center of Typhoon Lan could pass southeast of Okinawa in 24 to 36 hours.  Lan could approach Honshu within three days.