Tropical Storm Pabuk Forms Over South China Sea

Tropical Storm Pabuk formed over the South China Sea near Pulau Laut on Tuesday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Pabuk was located at latitude 5.9°N and longitude 108.2°E which put it about 675 miles (1090 km) east-southeast of Chumphon, Thailand.  Pabuk was moving toward the west at 6 m.p.h. (10 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.

More thunderstorms developed near the western side of the center of Tropical Depression 36W and the Japan Meteorological Agency designated the system as Tropical Storm Pabuk.  The distribution of thunderstorms around Tropical Storm Pabuk was asymmetrical.  Many of the stronger thunderstorms were occurring west of the center of circulation.  Pabuk was near the western end of a subtropical ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge was producing southeasterly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds were causing moderate vertical wind shear and they were inhibiting upper level divergence to the west of Tropical Storm Pabuk.  The wind shear was also probably causing the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were located on the northern periphery of Pabuk.

Tropical Storm Pabuk will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification.  Pabuk will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level ridge over the Western North Pacific will continue to cause vertical wind shear, but the strength of the upper level winds could weaken slightly.  Wind shear will inhibit intensification, but Tropical Storm Pabuk is likely to strengthen during the next 24 to 48 hours.

The ridge over the Western North Pacific will steer Tropical Storm Pabuk toward the west-northwest during the next several days.  On its anticipated track Pabuk could approach southern Thailand in 48 to 60 hours.