Tropical Storm Haikui Develops Over the Philippines

Tropical Storm Haikui developed over the Philippines on Thursday.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Haikui was located at latitude 14.6°N and longitude 119.8°E which put it about 50 miles (80 km) west-southwest of Manila, Philippines.  Haikui was moving toward the west-northwest at 13 m.p.h. (21 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).  Thee minimum surface pressure was 998 mb.

A center of circulation developed within an area of showers and thunderstorms over the Philippines and the Japan Meteorological Agency designated the system as Tropical Storm Haikui.  The circulation of Tropical Storm Haikui is still organizing.  Several areas of showers and thunderstorms are east and south of the center of circulation.  Broken bands of showers and storms are beginning to form farther away from the center.  There are fewer showers and thunderstorms in the western half of the circulation.

Tropical Storm Haikui will be moving through an environment that is somewhat favorable for intensification.  Haikui will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level ridge centered northeast of the Philippines is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds are causing moderate vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Haikui will move toward the western end of the ridge and the winds will blow from the southwest at that point.  So, the direction of the wind shear will change.  If Haikui stays far enough south, it will pass south of the stronger upper level winds and the tropical storm could intensify.

The ridge northeast of the Philippines is steering Tropical Storm Haikui toward the west-northwest and that general motion is expected to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Haikui will move away from the Philippines across the South China Sea.  Haikui could approach Hainan Island in a few days.