Typhoon Wutip strengthened into the equivalent of a major hurricane south of Guam on Friday. At 10:00 a.m. EST on Friday the center of Typhoon Wutip was located at latitude 10.1°N and longitude 144.7°E which put it about 240 miles (385 km) south of Guam. Wutip was moving toward the northwest at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 949 mb.
Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Guam, Rota and Faraulep. Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Tinian, Saipan, Agrihan and Pagan.
Typhoon Wutip was a very well organized tropical cyclone. A small eye was at the center of circulation. The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Typhoon Wutip. Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the typhoon.
Typhoon Wutip had a large circulation. Winds to typhoon force extended out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 185 miles (295 km) from the center. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Typhoon Wutip was 22.1. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 17.3 and The Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 39.4. Typhoon Wutip was capable of causing major damage.
Typhoon Wutip may be near its peak intensity. Wutip will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C. So, there is enough energy in the upper ocean to support a strong typhoon. Typhoon Wutip has been in an area where the upper level winds were weak and there was little vertical wind shear. The shear will remain small for another 12 to 24 hours. Then an upper level trough will approach Typhoon Wutip from the west in a day or so. The trough will bring southwesterly winds and the vertical wind shear will increase. Wutip will start to weaken when the shear increases.
Typhoon Wutip will move around the western end of a subtropical ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean. Wutip will gradually turn more toward the north while it moves around the end of the ridge. On its anticipated track the core of Typhoon Wutip will pass west of Guam and the Northern Marianas. Wutip could bring winds to tropical storm force to Guam and some of the other islands, which is why the warnings and watches were issued.