Phanfone Strengthens to a Typhoon, Closing in on Central Philippines

Former Tropical Storm Phanfone strengthened to a typhoon as it closed in on the central Philippines on Monday night.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Monday the center of Typhoon Phanfone was located at latitude 10.9°N and longitude 126.9°E which put it about 80 miles (130 km) east of Guiuan, Philippines.  Phanfone was moving toward the west at 18 m.p.h. (29 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 981 mb.

Typhoon Phanfone strengthened on Monday.  The circulation became more symmetrical and an eye began to form at the center of Phanfone.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Phanfone.  Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the typhoon.  The circulation around Typhoon Phanfone was relatively small.  Winds to typhoon force extended out 20 miles (30 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 100 miles (160 km) from the center.

Typhoon Phanfone will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next few hours.  Phanfone 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 weak and the will be little vertical wind shear.  Typhoon Phanfone will continue to intensify until it makes landfall in the central Philippines.  Phanfone will begin to weaken when the center moves over land.  It could regain some strength while the center passes over the Visayan Sea.

Typhoon Phanfone will move south of a subtropical high pressure system over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The high will steer Phanfone toward the west-northwest during the next several days.  On it anticipated track the center of Typhoon Phanfone will pass over southern Samar near Guiuan in a few hours.  The core of Phanfone will also pass near Tacloban and northern Leyte.  Typhoon Phanfone will move over the Visayan Sea before moving near Roxas City and northern Panay Island.

Typhoon Phanfone will bring strong winds to southern Samar, Leyte and northern Panay Island.  Phanfone will drop locally heavy rain and flash floods could occur in some locations.  Typhoon Phanfone could produce a storm surge of six feet (two meters) along portions of the coast where the wind blows the water toward the shore.