Surigae Strengthens to Typhoon North of Palau

Former Tropical Storm Surigae strengthened to a typhoon north of Palau on Thursday night. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Typhoon Surigae was located at latitude 8.9°N and longitude 134.2°E which put it about 50 miles (80 km) north of Palau. Surigae was moving toward the west-northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 105 m.p.h. (165 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb. A weather station at the international airport on Palau reported a sustained wind speed of 46 m.p.h. (74 km/h) and a wind gust of 74 m.p.h. (118 km/h). There were reports of trees down and of wind damage on Palau.

Typhoon Surigae was intensifying more rapidly on Thursday night. Microwave satellite images showed an eye forming at the center of Surigae. The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. The strongest rainbands were still in the western half of Typhoon Surigae, but more thunderstorms were developing in bands in the eastern half of the circulation. Storms near the center of Surigae were producing strong upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the typhoon. Winds to typhoon force extended out 30 miles (50 km) from the center of Typhoon Surigae. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 160 miles (260 km) from the center.

Typhoon Surigae will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours. Surigae will be over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures will be near 30°C. It will move under the southwestern part of an upper level ridge over the Western North Pacific Ocean. The ridge will produce easterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation. However, the winds at lower levels in the atmosphere will also blow from the east and there will be little vertical wind shear. Typhoon Surigae will continue to intensify and it could strengthen rapidly once an inner core is fully formed. Surigae could intensify to the equivalent of a major hurricane in 24 hours.

Typhoon Surigae will move around the southwestern part of a subtropical high pressure system over the Western North Pacific Ocean during the next few days. The high will steer Surigae toward the west-northwest during the next two days. After that time Typhoon Surigae will move more toward the north when it moves around the western end of the high pressure system. On its anticipated track Typhoon Surigae could be east of the Philippines in 48 hours. Conditions on Palau will improve gradually on Friday when Surigae moves farther away.