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Tropical Storm Tembin Strengthens Over the Sulu Sea

Tropical Storm Tembin moved west of Mindanao and it strengthened over the Sulu Sea on Friday.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Tembin was located at latitude 8.0°N and longitude 120.8°E which put it about 200 miles (320 km) southeast of Puerto Princesa, Philippines.  Tembin was moving toward the west at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 992 mb.

Tropical Storm Tembin weakened when the center moved across Mindanao.  The center is back over water in the Sulu Sea and the circulation of Tembin is strengthening again.  There is a distinct low level center of circulation, but the distribution of thunderstorms is asymmetrical.  Most of the strong thunderstorms are occurring in bands in the western half of the circulation.  Bands in the eastern half of the circulation consist primarily of low clouds and showers.  The storms west of the center are generating upper level divergence which is pumping mass away to the west of the tropical storm.  The removal of mass has caused the surface pressure to decrease and the wind speeds have started to increase.

Tropical Storm Tembin will be moving through an environment that is favorable for intensification.  Tembin will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level ridge north of Tropical Storm Tembin is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.   Those winds are causing vertical wind shear, which is probably the reason for the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.  However, the shear is not strong enough to prevent Tropical Storm Tembin from intensifying.  Tembin could strengthen into a typhoon during the next day or two while is moves over the South China Sea.

The subtropical ridge north of Tembin is steering the tropical storm toward the west.  A general motion toward the west-northwest west is forecast for the next two or three days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Tembin will move across Palawan in about 18 hours.  Tembin could reach the southern coast of Vietnam in about three days.  Tembin will bring gusty winds and heavy rain to Palawan.  Tembin could be a typhoon when it approaches southern Vietnam.

Elsewhere over the western North Pacific Ocean Tropical Depression Kai-tak is approaching the east coast of Malaysia.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday the center of Tropical Depression Kai-tak was located at latitude 4.0°N and longitude 104.4°E which put it about 175 miles (285 km) north-northeast of Singapore.  Kai-tak was moving toward the southwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1005 mb.  Tropical Depression Kai-tak will drop locally heavy rain over portions of Malaysia, which could cause floods and mudslides.