Hagibis Strengthens to a Typhoon, Warnings Issued for Marianas

Former Tropical Storm Hagibis strengthened into a typhoon Sunday and warnings were issued for the Marianas.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Typhoon Hagibis was located at latitude 15.1°N and longitude 150.3°E which put it about 425 miles (685 km) east-northeast of Guam.  Hagibis was moving toward the west-northwest at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 978 mb.

Typhoon Warnings were in effect for Tinian, Saipan, Alamagan and Pagan.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Rota and Agrihan.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for Guam.

Typhoon Hagibis exhibited much better organization on satellite images on Sunday.  The inner end of a rainband wrapped almost entirely around the center of circulation and an eye was forming in the middle of Hagibis.  Other bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Typhoon Hagibis.  Storms near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the typhoon in all directions.  Winds to typhoon force extend out 30 miles (50 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 145 miles (230 km) from the center.

Typhoon Hagibis will move through an environment very favorable for intensification during the next 48 to 72 hours.  Hagibis will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Typhoon Hagibis will continue to intensify and it is likely to intensify rapidly once the eye and eyewall are fully developed.  Hagibis could strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane within 36 hours and it could intensify to the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale within 72 hours.

Typhoon Hagibis will move around the southwestern portion of a subtropical ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will steer Hagibis toward the west-northwest during the next 24 to 48 hours.  Typhoon Hagibis will move more toward the northwest when it gets closer to western end of the ridge in a couple of days.  On its anticipated track Typhoon Hagibis will move through the Marianas in about 24 hours.  The center of Hagibis is forecast to pass north of Saipan.  Typhoon Hagibis will bring strong gusty winds and heavy rain to portions of the Northern Marianas.