Tropical Storm Son-tinh Develops East of Hainan Island

Tropical Storm Son-tinh developed east of Hainan Island on Monday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Son-tinh was located at latitude 19.4°N and longitude 116.9°E which put it about 430 miles east of Hainan Island.  Son-tinh was moving toward the west at 24 m.p.h. (35 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 996 mb.

A small circulation began west of Guam last week and then it moved north of the Philippines on Monday.  Thunderstorms would form near the circulation and then wind shear would blow the tops of the storms away.  A small area of thunderstorms eventually persisted near the center of circulation on Monday and the Japan Meteorological Agency designated the system as Tropical Storm Son-tinh.  There was a small tight center of circulation in Son-tinh, but strong upper level winds were causing the distribution of thunderstorms to be asymmetrical.  More of the thunderstorms were occurring west of the center.  The circulation of Son-tinh was relatively small.  Winds to tropical storm force only extended out 80 miles (130 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Storm Son-tinh will move through an environment marginally favorable for intensification.  Son-tinh will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  Tropical Storm Son-tinh is moving south of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing strong easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause strong vertical wind shear and the shear will limit intensification.  Tropical Storm Son-tinh could intensify a little before it reaches Hainan Island, but it will weaken when it moves over the island.

The ridge north of Son-tinh is steering the tropical storm rapidly toward the west and that general motion is forecast to continue on Tuesday.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Son-tinh will reach Hainan Island in about 18 hours.  Son-tinh will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain.  Isolated flash floods could occur,but the overall impacts are likely to be minor.