Tropical Storm Ampil Moves Toward Okinawa

Tropical Storm Ampil moved toward Okinawa on Thursday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Ampil was located at latitude 23.3°N and longitude 130.6°E which put it about 320 miles (520 km) southeast of Okinawa.  Ampil was moving toward the north-northwest at 11 m.p.h. (17 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 984 mb.

Tropical Storm Ampil strengthened on Thursday, although its appearance on satellite imagery was not particularly impressive.  There was a distinct low level center of circulation, but the most of the stronger thunderstorms were occurring in a rainband southwest of the center of circulation.  Bands in other parts of the tropical storm consisted primarily of showers and low clouds.  It appeared that some drier air could have wrapped around the southern and eastern sides of the circulation.  The drier air may have inhibited the development of taller thunderstorms in those parts of Tropical Storm Ampil.  The circulation was fairly large and winds to tropical storm force extended out about 185 miles (295 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Storm Ampil will move through an environment that could support further intensification during the next day or two.  Ampil will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will be near the eastern end of an upper level low, but Tropical Storm Ampil will move under a zone where the upper level winds will not be too strong.  There will be some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  The main factor that could inhibit intensification will be the drier air already around the circulation.  If the strong rainband in the southwestern part of Tropical Storm Ampil wraps around the center of circulation, it could prevent the drier air from affecting the core of the tropical storm.  If that happens, the Tropical Storm Ampil would be likely to intensify and it could become a typhoon.  However, if the drier air works its way into the center of circulation, then Ampil will not intensify.

Tropical Storm Ampil will move southwest of a subtropical ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will steer Ampil in a northwesterly direction during the next 24 to 48 hours.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Ampil could be near Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands in less than 24 hours.  Ampil could reach the east coast of China south of Shanghai in about two days.  Tropical Storm Ampil will bring gusty winds to the Ryukyu Islands later on Friday.  Ampil could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to parts of eastern China during the weekend.