Typhoon Lan Poised To Be Northern Hemisphere’s Next Megastorm In The Western Pacific

The tropical Atlantic Ocean has witnessed one of its worst hurricane seasons on record, but the western Pacific Ocean — historically home to some of the planet’s most powerful storms — has been strangely quiet. That could change, in a heartbeat.

Typhoon Lan has developed between the Philippines and Guam and is set to intensify explosively over the next two days. The official forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center is that Lan will reach super typhoon intensity by Friday — meaning its top winds will reach at least 150 mph.

The storm, possessing peak winds of 75 mph, is over “extremely warm” sea surface temperatures around 88 degrees as well as “notably high ocean heat content,” the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said. Overall, it described conditions for intensification as “very favorable.”

Lan should easily reach Category 4 or Category 5 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, which spans from 1 to 5. Typhoons, which are the same kind of storms as hurricanes but have different names, share an identical rating system.

After peaking in strength Friday or Saturday, Lan is likely to threaten Japan early next week. Before that, it could make a close brush with Okinawa over the weekend, although the storm’s core — containing its most violent winds — should pass just to its east.

While the storm will be moving over colder waters and weakening some, it could still be a significant typhoon when it nears Japan. It could also lose its tropical characteristics and transition into a powerful nontropical storm or former typhoon by the time it arrives.

It is too soon to pinpoint Lan’s exact location five days from now because of low confidence in the long-range storm track, but the entirety of Japan should monitor the storm.

Lan has a good chance to end a month-long period (Sep. 16 to Oct. 17) in which not a single major typhoon (Category 3 or higher) has formed in the western Pacific. According to Phil Klotzbach, tropical weather expert at Colorado State University, such an absence in major storms hasn’t occurred since 1984.

NASA Finds Newly formed Tropical Storm lan Over Open Waters

NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite provided a visible picture of newly formed Tropical Storm Lan in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Tropical Storm Lan developed on Oct. 15 and has been moving to the west-northwest over open ocean.

On Oct. 16 at 12 a.m. EDT (0400 UTC) the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite provided a visible image of the storm. The image showed the bulk of clouds were on the eastern and southeastern sides of the storm indicating the storm was being affected by vertical wind shear.

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) Tropical storm Lan was centered near 10.8 degrees north latitude and 133.1 degrees east longitude, about 214 nautical miles north-northwest of Koror, Palau. It was moving to the west 12 knots (13.8 mph/22.2 kph) and had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph/62 kph).

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that Lan is intensifying and is expected to become a typhoon over the open waters of the western Pacific.

A Rare Hurricane Near Europe Turned The Sun Red

At least two people have died after former Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland’s west coast this morning (Oct. 16) as a post-tropical storm that turned the Sun red as it rose over the UK.

Ophelia made landfall on the southwest Irish coast in the counties of Cork and Kerry with wind gusts as high as 120 mph, the equivalent of category-3 storm. (It was not technically a hurricane because it formed in the Bay of Biscay rather than tropical waters.)

Ophelia’s size, bigger than the island itself, shows the sheer potential for destruction:

Ophelia could still bring hurricane-force winds across Ireland and Britain.

Ophelia tears into Ireland

Ophelia is the most powerful storm ever recorded in the northeastern Atlantic and the worst storm to hit Ireland since Hurricane Debbie in 1961, which killed 15 .

Met Éireann, the Irish weather office, issued a red-wind warning, the highest level available, for the entire country today (Oct. 16), cautioning “There is a danger to life and property.” Schools throughout the country closed.
The Met Office in the UK issued an amber weather warning for Northern Ireland into parts of Wales and Scotland, with gusts up to 80 mph expected.

“Bear in mind that while in some parts of the country the storm is not yet that bad, it is coming your way,” Ireland’s prime minister Leo Varadkar said at a news conference. “This is a national red alert. It applies to all cities, all counties and all areas.”

Officials in County Waterford said a female driver was killed when a tree fell through her windshield. A man in County Tipperary died from a chainsaw injury after trying to clear a fallen tree. About 360,000 people are without power.

The storm is expected to move into Britain late tonight or early tomorrow (Oct. 17). The US National Hurricane Center, which tracks Atlantic storms, expects Ophelia to weaken over the next day and dissipate over Norway tomorrow night.

About that Red Sun

According to BBC weather reporter Simon King, the redness was caused by the remnants of Ophelia dragging tropical air and dust from the Sahara, along with debris from forest fires in Portugal and Spain. The dust scatters the short-wavelength blue light, allowing longer-wavelength red light to shine through, making the Sun appear red.

Hong Kong, Southern China Brace For Typhoon Khanun

BEIJING – Typhoon Khanun is likely to hit southern China early Monday with winds of up to 114 kph (70 mph), China’s meteorological agency said, as authorities in the financial hub of Hong Kong raised the third-highest weather warning.

The typhoon is expected to make landfall between Zhanjiang, in Guangdong province, and Wenchang, in Hainan province, the official Xinhua News Agency cited the National Meteorological Center as saying.

The agency has issued an orange alert, the second highest in China’s four-tier, color-coded alert system for severe weather, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

From Sunday to Monday morning, parts of Zhejiang, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan provinces will be drenched in heavy rain, Xinhua warned. In some areas, precipitation is expected to be up to 200 millimetres (7.8 inches), it said.

In Hong Kong, some transport services were disrupted Sunday because of strong wind. Ferries linking Hong Kong, to Macau and nearby islands, were suspended while some flights to Taiwan and mainland China were canceled, transport authorities said.

The storm comes about two months after Typhoon Hato, a maximum category 10 storm, caused havoc in Hong Kong and deaths in nearby Macau, with extensive flooding and disruption to transport.

Xinhua said in Hainan, high-speed train services were suspended from early Sunday, while ferries on the Qiongzhou Strait, which connects the island province with Guangdong on the mainland, were suspended on Saturday, Xinhua said.