Typhoon Soulik Strengthens Near Iwo To

Typhoon Soulik strengthened near Iwo To on Friday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Typhoon Soulik was located at latitude 24.4°N and longitude 140.0°E which put it about 90 miles (145 km) west-southwest of Iwo To.  Soulik was moving toward the north at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 125 m.p.h. (200 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 963 mb.

Typhoon Soulik strengthened quickly on Friday.  An eye appeared at the center of circulation on satellite imagery.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the circulation.  The strongest rainbands were occurring in the eastern half of Typhoon Soulik.  Storms around the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping large quantities of mass away from the typhoon.  Winds to typhoon force extended out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 150 miles (240 km) from the center.

Typhoon Soulik will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours.  Soulik will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Typhoon Soulik will continue to intensify and it will become the equivalent of a major hurricane during the weekend.

Typhoon Soulik will be in an area where the winds at steering level are weak during next 12 to 24 hours.  Soulik is likely to move slowly northward during that time.  A subtropical ridge northeast of Typhoon Soulik is forecast to strengthen in a day or so.  When that happens, the ridge will steer Soulik in a general northwesterly direction.  On its anticipated track Typhoon Soulik will slowly away from Iwo To on Saturday.  Soulik will continue to produce gusty winds and to drop heavy rain over Iwo To until it moves away.  Typhoon Soulik will move in the general direction of Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands during the next several days.