Tropical Storm Jelawat Strengthens West of Guam

Tropical Storm Jelawat strengthened west of Guam late on Tuesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Jelawat was located at latitude 12.3°N and longitude 135.5°E which put it about 230 miles (375 km) northwest of Yap and about 600 miles (970 km) west of Guam.  Jelawat was moving toward the north at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.

After being affected by strong vertical wind shear for about 36 hours, Tropical Storm Jelawat began to strengthen late on Tuesday.  Many more thunderstorms formed near the center of circulation.  The circulation became much more symmetrical.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms formed in all parts of the circulation.  The storms near the center of circulation started to generate upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical storm.

Tropical Storm Jelawat will be moving through an environment favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Jelawat will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  Tropical Storm Jelawat is moving around the western end of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing southerly winds which are blowing toward the tropical storm.  The winds are producing some vertical wind shear, but the shear is not as strong as it has been.  Tropical Storm Jelawat will intensify during the next day or two and it could strengthen into a typhoon.

The ridge is steering Tropical Storm Jelawat toward the north and the northerly motion is expected to continue for another 12 to 24 hours.  Jelawat will move more toward the northeast in a day or so after it rounds the western end of the ridge.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Jelawat will move away from Yap and it will remain west of Guam.