Tropical Storm Bailu on Track Toward Taiwan

Tropical Storm Bailu remained on a track toward Taiwan on Thursday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Bailu was located at latitude 19.0°N and longitude 125.6°E which put it about 385 miles (615 km) east-southeast of Hengchun, Taiwan.  Bailu was moving toward the northwest at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 990 mb.

The circulation around Tropical Storm Bailu was large.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 170 miles (280 km) from the center of circulation.  Many of the stronger thunderstorms in Bailu were occurring in bands in the southern half of the circulation.  Bands in the northern half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Tropical Storm Bailu was moving south of an upper level ridge.  The ridge was causing sinking motion to the north of Bailu which appeared to be limiting the development of taller thunderstorms in the northern half of the circulation.

Aside from the sinking motion north of Tropical Storm Bailu, it will move through an environment favorable for intensification.  Bailu 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 not too strong and there will not be a lot of vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Bailu could intensify on Friday if more thunderstorms develop around the center of circulation.  There is a chance that Bailu could strengthen into a typhoon.

Tropical Storm Bailu will move around the southwestern part of a subtropical ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will steer Bailu toward the northwest.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Bailu could approach southern Taiwan in about 24 hours.  Bailu could be a typhoon by that time.  It will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to Taiwan.  The locally heavy rain could cause flash floods in some locations.