Tropical Storm Kai-tak Weakens Over the Philippines

Tropical Storm Kai-tak weakened as it passed over the Philippines.   Kai-tak dropped heavy rain which caused floods and mudslides before it weakened.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Kai-tak was located at latitude 10.5°N and longitude 119.1°E which put it about 75 miles (120 km) northeast of Puerto Princesa, Philippines.  Kai-tak was moving toward the west-southwest at 10 m.p.h. (16 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 minimum surface pressure was 1000 mb.

Moving over islands of the central Philippines disrupted parts of the circulation of Tropical Storm Kai-tak.  In addition an upper level ridge produced strong easterly winds which blew across the top of the circulation.  Those winds caused moderate vertical wind shear.  The strong upper level winds periodically weakened the thunderstorms near the core of the circulation.  The upper level winds slowed at times and more storms developed near the center of Tropical Storm Kai-tak.  The persistent vertical wind shear weakened the low level circulation.

More thunderstorms developed near the center of Tropical Storm Kai-tak during recent hours, but the circulation remains asymmetrical.  The new storms were forming west of the center of circulation.  There were only a few thin bands of showers in the eastern half of the circulation.  The strongest winds were occurring in the thunderstorms west of the center of Tropical Storm Kai-tak.  The Japan Meteorological Agency was maintaining a classification of a tropical storm.

Tropical Storm Kai-tak will move through an environment only marginally favorable for intensification.  Kai-tak will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  The upper level ridge will continue to produce strong easterly winds and there will continue to be moderate vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Kai-tak could maintain its intensify, if the wind shear does not increase.  However, if the upper level winds get stronger, then they could blow the top off of the circulation.

Tropical Storm Kai-tak is moving south of a subtropical ridge which is steering the tropical storm toward the west-southwest.  The west-southwesterly motion is forecast to continue for another day or two.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Kai-tak will move across Palawan and over the South China Sea.