Tropical Storm Bailu Forms East of Luzon

Tropical Storm Bailu formed east of Luzon on Wednesday.  At 5:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Bailu was located at latitude 15.4°N and longitude 131.6°E which put it about 930 miles (1500 km) southeast of Taipei, Taiwan.  Bailu was moving toward the northwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 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 998 mb.

A low pressure system east of northern Luzon strengthened on Wednesday and the Japan Meteorological Agency designated the system as Tropical Storm Bailu.  The circulation around Bailu was gradually exhibiting greater organization.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were forming and the bands were starting to revolve around the center of the tropical storm.  There were more thunderstorms in the bands on the western side of Tropical Storm Bailu.  Storms near the center of circulation were beginning to generate upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from Bailu.

Tropical Storm Bailu will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next two to three days.  Bailu will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28.5°C.  It will move southeast of an upper level ridge that extends from eastern Asia over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northeasterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  Tropical Storm Bailu will intensify during the next several days and it could strengthen into a typhoon.

Tropical Storm Bailu will move south of a subtropical ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will steer Bailu in a northwesterly direction.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Bailu could approach Taiwan in about 72 hours.  Bailu could be a typhoon by that time.  Bands on the western side of Tropical Storm Bailu could drop locally heavy rain over parts of northern Luzon.  Flash floods could occur in some locations.