Tropical Depression Develops West of Luzon

A tropical depression developed west of Luzon on Thursday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Depression 02W was located at latitude 16.3°N and longitude 119.2°E which put it about 135 miles (215 km) northwest of Manila, Philippines.  The depression was moving toward the west-northwest at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1002 mb.

An area of low pressure moved west of Luzon on Thursday night and several weather agencies classified the system as a tropical depression.  The circulation around Tropical Depression 02W was not well organized.  There were a number of fragmented bands of showers and thunderstorms revolving around the center of the depression.  The strongest thunderstorms were in bands west and north of the center.  Bands east of the center of circulation were still over the Philippines and those bands consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.

Tropical Depression 02W will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours.  The depression will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30.5°C.  It will move under the southwestern portion of an upper level ridge centered northeast of Taiwan.  The ridge will produce easterly winds which will blow toward the top of the depression.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear and the shear will inhibit intensification.  Tropical Depression 02W is likely to intensify into a tropical storm during the next 24 hours in spite of the vertical wind shear.

Tropical Depression 02W will move around the southwestern end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The high will steer the depression toward the northwest during the next 36 to 48 hours.  On its anticipated track Tropical Depression 02W will approach the coast of China west of Hong Kong in about 48 hours.  It will likely be a tropical storm at that time.