Tropical Storm Mekkhala Moving Through the Philippines

Tropical Storm Mekkhala is moving through the northern Philippines.  At 11:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Tropical Storm Mekkhala was located at latitude 13.9°N and longitude 123.0°E which put it near Daet and about 150 miles east-southeast of Manilla.  Mekkhala was moving toward the northwest at 11 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. and there were gusts to 50 m.p.h.  The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.

Mekkhala crossed over northern parts of Samar on Saturday and the center is near the southeastern portion of Luzon.  The islands disrupted parts of the circulation in the lower levels and Mekkhala weakened throughout the day.  Thunderstorms have been redeveloping in the part of the circulation over Lamon Bay and Mekkhala continues to be a tropical storm.  Divergence continues in the upper portion of the circulation and the wind shear remains at a moderate level.  While the atmospheric and oceanic environment would support intensification, if the center moves across Luzon further weakening is likely.

Mekkhala is near the western end of a subtropical ridge which has been steering the system toward the northwest.  If deep convection continues, then the ridge could continue to steer it toward the northwest.  However, if the system weakens to the point where only shallow convection exists, then it could be steered more toward the west by the lower level flow.

The relatively slow movement of Mekkhala continues the potential for locally heavy rainfall, flooding and mudslides.