Typhoon Mangkhut Strengthens to Equivalent of a Major Hurricane

Typhoon Mangkhut strengthened into the equivalent of a major hurricane as it moved west of Guam on Monday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Typhoon Mangkhut was located at latitude 14.0°N and longitude 140.6°E which put it about 230 miles (375 km) west of Guam.  Mangkhut was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 140 m.p.h. (225 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 165 m.p.h. (270 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 939 mb.  Typhoon Mangkhut was the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

Typhoon Mangkhut intensified rapidly on Monday.  A circular eye was at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Typhoon Mangkhut.  Storms around the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the typhoon.

Winds to typhoon force extended out about 50 miles (80 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 210 miles (335 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Typhoon Mangkhut was 28.2.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 18.9 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 47.1.

Typhoon Mangkhut will move through an environment capable of supporting very strong typhoons during the next two or three days.  Mangkhut will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Typhoon Mangkhut is likely to remain very strong for the next few days.  Eyewall replacement cycles could cause fluctuations in intensity.

Typhoon Mangkhut will move south of a ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will steer Mangkhut to the west during the next day or two.  Typhoon Mangkhut will move more toward the west-northwest later this week.  On its anticipated track Typhoon Mangkhut could be near northern Luzon in about four days.