Tropical Storm Phanfone Churns Toward the Philippines

Tropical Storm Phanfone churned toward the Philippines on Sunday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Phanfone was located at latitude 9.7°N and longitude 133.5°E which put it about 525 miles (850 km) east-southeast of Guiuan, Philippines.  Phafone was moving toward the west-northwest at 18 m.p.h. (29 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 999 mb.

Tropical Storm Phanfone exhibited greater organization on Sunday night.  More thunderstorms developed around the center of circulation.  Many of the stronger thunderstorms were occurring in bands northwest of the center.  Bands in other parts of the circulation had fewer storms and consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Thunderstorms near the center were generating upper level divergence which pumped mass away to the west of the tropical storm.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 100 miles (160 km) in the northern half of Phanfone and out 40 miles (65 km) on the southern side of the circulation.

Tropical Storm Phanfone will move through an environment favorable for intensification.  Phanfone will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29.5°C.  It will move south of an upper level ridge.  The ridge will produce southeasterly winds which will cause some vertical wind shear.  The wind shear diminished during recent hours.  The shear will slow the rate of intensification, but it will not be strong enough to keep Phanfone from intensifying.  Tropical Storm Phanfone will continue to intensify and it could strengthen into a typhoon within 36 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Phanfone will move south of a subtropical ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will steer Phanfone toward the west-northwest during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Phanfone could reach the central Philippines within 36 hours.  Phanfone could be a typhoon by the time it approaches Samar.