Typhoon Mangkhut Strengthens Into Equivalent of Cat. 5 Hurricane

Typhoon Mangkhut strengthened into the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Tuesday.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Typhoon Mangkhut was located at latitude 13.7°N and longitude 138.0°E which put it about 290 miles (470 km) north of Yap.  Mangkhut was moving toward the west at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 190 m.p.h. (305 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 915 mb.

Typhoon Mangkhut is strong and well organized.  It has a symmetrical circulation with a circular eye at the center.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surround the eye and the strongest winds are occurring in the ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Typhoon Mangkhut.  Storms near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping large quantities of mass away from the typhoon in all directions.

Typhoon Mangkhut has a large circulation.  Winds to typhoon force extend out about 65 miles (105 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 210 miles (375 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Typhoon Mangkhut is 35.0.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 22.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 57.1.  Typhoon Mangkhut is capable of causing extensive catastrophic damage.

Typhoon Mangkhut will be moving through an environment very favorable for powerful typhoons.  Mangkhut will be moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move through an area were the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Typhoon Mangkhut could maintain its intensity for several more days unless eyewall replacement cycles cause fluctuations in the wind speed.

Typhoon Mangkhut is moving south a ridge of high pressure over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will steer Mangkhut in a general west-northwesterly direction during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Typhoon Mangkhut could approach northern Luzon in about three days.  Mangkhut could be near Hong Kong in about five days.

Elsewhere over the Western North Pacific Ocean, Tropical Storm Barijat was moving southeast of Hong Kong.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Barijat was located at latitude 20.5°N and longitude 116.5°E which put it about 215 miles (345 km) southeast of Hong Kong.  Barijat was moving toward the west-southwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 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 1000 mb.

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