Tropical Storm Mitag Forms Southeast of Ryukyu Islands

Tropical Storm Mitag formed southeast of the Ryukyu Islands on Friday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Mitag was located at latitude 16.4°N and longitude 131.5°E which put it about 730 miles (1180 km) southeast of Ishigaki, Japan.  Mitag was movign toward the west-northwest at 27 m.p.h. (44 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.

More thunderstorms developed near the center of a low pressure system southeast of the Ryukyu Islands on Friday and the Japan Meteorological Agency designated the system as Tropical Storm Mitag.  The distribution of thunderstorms around Tropical Storm Mitag was asymmetrical.  A few thunderstorms developed near the center of circulation, but most of the thunderstorms were forming in bands in the southern half of the circulation.  Bands in the northern half of Mitag consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Tropical Storm Mitag was moving around the southwestern portion of an upper level ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge was producing northeasterly winds which were blowing toward the top of Mitag.  Those winds were causing moderate vertical wind shear and they were contributing to the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.

Tropical Storm Mitag will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification during the next two days.  Mitag will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  Mitag will move around the western end of the upper level ridge where the winds are weaker.  The wind shear is likely to decrease and Tropical Storm Mitag is forecast to strengthen into a typhoon during the weekend.

The ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean will steer Tropical Storm Mitag toward the northwest during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Mitag will move more toward the north when it moves around the west end of the ridge in about 48 hours.  On its anticipated track Tropcial Storm Mitag could reach the southern Ryukyu Islands in about 48 hours.  Mitag could be a typhoon at that time.