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Tropical Depression 01W (Vongfong), # 15 FINAL

U.S. NAVY

By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 8, 2020

5:40 p.m. Saturday, May 16, Japan time: Vongfong has been downgraded to a tropical depression by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

It continues to rapidly erode as it moves north through the Luzon Strait north of the Philippines, through cooler waters and strong vertical wind shear, making it decay further.

JTWC projects Vongfong to dissipate overnight Saturday into Sunday, far southwest of Okinawa.

Vongfong's remnants and the rainy-season front should still provide heavy rain and gusty winds as the week begins, though.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal 2 remains raised for Ilocos Norte in Luzon and Signal 1 for other parts of Luzon, the Batanes and Babuyan islands, according to the Philippines' national weather authority PAGASA.

Unless Vongfong regenerates, this should be Storm Tracker's final report.


1 p.m. Saturday, May 16, Japan time: By all indication, Tropical Storm Vongfong continues weakening rapidly and could die out well before reaching southwestern Japan, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

At 9 a.m., Vongfong was 244 miles northwest of Metro Manila and 751 miles southwest of Kadena Air Base, hurtling northwest at 24 mph with 40-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts at center.

If it remains on its present heading, JTWC projects Vongfong to curve northeast and keep diminishing into a tropical depression, breaking apart due to strong wind shear and dissipating sometime Monday around Ishigaki or Miyako Island, some 200 miles west of Kadena.

Winds aren't forecast to be strong Monday and Tuesday, but Okinawa could see plenty of rainfall, a combination of Vongfong's remnants and the annual rainy-season front, currently north of Okinawa. That could change; much unpredictability there.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal 2 remains raised for northern portions of Luzon and the northern Babuyan Islands and TCWS 1 for other portions of Luzon and the Batanes islands, according to the Philippines' national weather authority PAGASA.

Expect those to be lowered in the coming hours as Vongfong -- called AmboPH by PAGASA -- continues to weaken and move out of the area.

This report will be updated when JTWC issues its final warning on Vongfong.


Midnight Friday, May 15, Japan time: Closest point of approach by Tropical Storm Vongfong to Metro Manila and Clark Airport has come and gone.

Vongfong continues to weaken as it moves north over the mountainous terrain of Luzon in the northern Philippines, and remains forecast to curve northeast and dissipate as it approaches Okinawa, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

At 9 p.m., Vongfong was 43 miles northeast of Manila and 883 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, moving north-northwest at 13 mph packing 63-mph sustained winds and 81-mph gusts at center.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signals 1 and 2 remain raised for Luzon, according to the national weather authority PAGASA.

If Vongfong remains on its present course, it's forecast to exit Luzon at mid-evening Saturday, packing 46-mph sustained winds and 58-mph gusts as it curves northeast.

JTWC projects Vongfong to begin losing its tropical characteristic, pick up rapid forward speed, head straight toward Kadena, but dying out as it hurtles northeast.

There remains a speed spread among model solutions, so that may change; it might take longer, it might take less time, but sometime Monday.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. This report will be updated at noon Saturday.


6:40 p.m.Friday, May 15, Japan time: Despite Vongfong's most vigorous efforts, it's been downgraded to a tropical storm by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Vongfong remains forecast to keep weakening as it moves north through Luzon, the Philippines' northernmost main island, then curve northeast and dissipate as it approaches Okinawa.

At 3 p.m., Vongfong was 70 miles east-southeast of Manila and 930 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, rumbling northwest at 14 mph packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at center.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signals 1 and 2 remain raised for pretty much all of Luzon and all warning signals for Visayas have been canceled, according to the national weather authority PAGASA.

If it stays on its present heading, Vongfong remains forecast to pass through the mountainous terrain of central Luzon, 31 miles east of Manila and 41 miles east of Clark Airport between 7 and 11 p.m. Friday and exiting Luzon late Saturday, packing 52-mph sustained winds and 63-mph gusts as it starts curving northeast.

JTWC projects Vongfong to lose its tropical characteristics and pick up forward speed, hurtling 40 miles northwest of Kadena about 6 p.m. Monday, still packing 35-mph sustained winds and 46-mph gusts. There's every chance it might dissipate before that.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. This report will be updated around midnight.


12:30 p.m. Friday, May 15, Japan time: Stubborn critter, this one is. Vongfong is barely clinging to Category 1-equivalent typhoon status.

But good news could be in the cards. Vongfong is forecast to keep weakening, pass through Luzon as a tropical storm, then hurtle rapidly past Okinawa late Monday as a weak cyclone, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

At 9 a.m. Vongfong was 145 miles southeast of Metro Manila and 966 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, rumbling northwest at 14 mph packing 75-mph sustained winds and 92-mph gusts at center.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signals 2 and 3 have been raised for most of Luzon in the northern Philippines, while portions of Visayas remain under Signal 1, according to the national weather authority PAGASA.

Vongfong is forecast to downgrade to a tropical storm, packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts as it makes secondary landfall over southeast Luzon at mid-evening Friday.

If it remains on its present heading, JTWC projects Vongfong to pass 38 miles east-northeast of Manila and 41 miles east-northeast of Clark Airport between 9 p.m. Friday and 1 a.m. Saturday, exiting Luzon at mid-evening Saturday as a middling tropical storm, 52-mph sustained winds at center.

From there, Vongfong is forecast to keep losing power and its tropical characteristics, moving rapidly northeast and passing 28 miles southeast of Kadena -- close but not as much more than those heavy rain pockets the island experienced a few days ago.

And there remains a vast spread among model solutions, JTWC reports, so this might change.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. This post will be updated possibly at 6 p.m. if conditions warrant, and definitely around midnight.


12:10 a.m. Friday, May 15, Japan time: After briefly flirting with Category 3-equivalent status earlier Thursday, Typhoon Vongfong has reverted back into a Category 2-equivalent storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

But Okinawa continues to remain far removed from anything strong. Vongfong is forecast to continue weakening as it moves north and dissipate as it approaches the island, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Vongfong has slowed down a bit as it crosses Samar Island in the central Philippines.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal 3 remains raised for portions of Visayas and Luzon and Signals 1 and 2 elsewhere, according to the national weather authority PAGASA.

At 9 p.m., Vongfong -- named AmboPH by PAGASA -- was 989 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and 306 miles east-southeast of Metro Manila, crawling west-northwest at 5 mph packing 98-mph sustained winds and 121-mph gusts at center.

If Vongfong continues on its present heading, it's forecast to start curving northwest, then north through Visayas and make secondary landfall in east Luzon at mid-morning Saturday after it skims the island's coast through Friday.

Vongfong is forecast to pass 75 miles east-northeast of Manila and 82 miles east-northeast of Clark Airport between midnight Friday and 4 a.m. Saturday, then exit Luzon north late Saturday.

As it keeps moving north, Vongfong is due to move over cooler waters, curve northeast and pick up forward speed, losing tropical properties and dissipating as it approaches Okinawa. JTWC forecasts Vongfong to come within 141 miles southwest of Kadena late Monday.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. This report will be updated at mid-day and 6 p.m. Friday.


6:15 p.m. Thursday, May 14, Japan time: Vongfong  restrengthened into a Category 3-equivalent typhoon late Thursday afternoon and made landfall just past noon over eastern Samar Island in the central Philippines.

It remains on course to batter the central Philippines, then hook northeast and pass just south of Okinawa as a tropical storm late Monday, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

At 3 p.m., Vongfong was 332 miles east-southeast of Metro Manila and 989 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, moving west at 11 mph, packing 115-mph sustained winds and 144-mph gusts at center.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal 3 remains raised for southeast Luzon and Visayas in the central Philippines, according to the national weather authority PAGASA, and Signals 1 and 2 elsewhere.

If Vongfong remains on its present heading, it's forecast to curve northeast through the Bicol region, Legaspi and Quezon, and making secondary landfall over southeast Luzon at mid-afternoon Friday, still packing 92-mph sustained winds and 115-mph gusts.

Vongfong is forecast to pass 37 miles east-northeast of Manila and 42 miles east-northeast of Clark Airport between 10 p.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday, gradually weakening as it moves over land, exiting Luzon late Saturday evening as a middling tropical storm.

Vongfong is then due to curve northeast, coming within 125 miles south-southwest of Kadena packing 40-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts, then losing its tropical characteristics and dissipating, JTWC reports.

There still remains a vast spread among model solutions, so these numbers could change.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. This report will be updated around midnight, and again at noon Friday.


12:15 p.m. Thursday, May 14, Japan time: Vongfong has weakened slightly, but remains a powerful Category 2-equivalent typhoon as it continues rumbling west toward the Philippines.

And it still appears as if Vongfong might diminish into as weak as tropical-depression status as it approaches Okinawa, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

At 9 a.m., Vongfong was 989 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base and 390 miles east-southeast of Metro Manila, churning west at 10 mph packing 110-mph sustained winds and 132-mph gusts.

That's slightly lower than the 121-mph sustained-wind peak that Vongfong reached about six hours earlier.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal 3 has been raised for portions of southeastern Luzon and eastern Visayas in central Philippines, according to the national weather authority PAGASA, with Signals 1 and 2 raised for other areas.

The new JTWC forecast track now takes Vongfong back inland, instead of skimming the coast as previously projected.

If Vongfong remains on its present heading, it's forecast to hit Samar Island later Thursday, then begin curving northwest through Visayas and making secondary landfall over southeastern Luzon at mid-day Friday.

Vongfong is forecast to pass 30 miles east-northeast of Manila at 11 p.m. Friday and 40 miles east-northeast of Clark Airport at 1 a.m. Saturday, still packing 81-mph sustained winds and 98-mph gusts.

The forecast arc should see Vongfong exit Luzon overnight Saturday into Sunday, then curve northeast, rapidly losing its punch and speeding 70 miles south-southeast of Kadena at 10 p.m. Monday, either as a weak tropical storm or tropical depression.

Though there remains general agreement on a northeast track from model guidance and the GFS and CMC ensembles, there continues to remain a vast spread among model solutions.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. If things stay as they are, we most likely won't see an upgrade. Stay tuned. This report will be updated at about 6 p.m.


1:15 a.m. Thursday, May 14, Japan time: A mixed bag of news for the folks on Okinawa concerned about what Vongfong has in store for them:

-- The bad news: The latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track takes Vongfong just south-southeast of Kadena Air Base late Monday.

-- The good news: That same forecast calls for Vongfong to have long lost the punch that it's projected to pack this week on approach to the Philippines. It may be but a middling tropical storm as it makes its forecast pass near Okinawa.

-- The mixed news: As usual, we're talking a long-range forecast, five days out, and a significant spread in model solutions. Five days, campers. A lot can change in almost a whole week.

For now, let's get to the immediate: Vongfong continues to strengthen into what could be a Category 4-equivalent storm by about this time Friday morning, according to the JTWC forecast.

At 9 p.m., Vongfong was 998 miles south of Kadena and 492 miles east-southeast of Metro Manila, crawling west-northwest at 7 mph and packing 104-mph sustained winds and 127-mph gusts at center.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal 2 has been issued for east portions of Visayas in the central Philippines by the national weather authority PAGASA, and TCWS 1 for more broad portions of Visayas and Luzon. TCWS 3 could be issued sometime Thursday.

If Vongfong -- named AmboPH by PAGASA -- remains on its present heading, it's forecast to begin a wide, gradual arc toward the northeast, lasting for several days.

It's forecast to first skim north of Samar Island, rumble through the Bicol region and crash ashore in eastern Luzon at mid-evening Friday, still packing 121-mph sustained winds and 150-mph gusts. No joke, this one.

Vongfong is forecast to pass 112 miles east-northeast of Metro Manila and 117 miles east-northeast of Clark International Airport between 6 and 9 p.m. Friday as it makes landfall.

That northeast arc shows Vongfong exiting Luzon at mid-evening Saturday, still packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts.

From there, JTWC projects to start losing its tropical characteristics and pick up forward speed, keep curving northeast and rapidly lose its punch as it heads in Okinawa's general direction.

Vongfong is forecast to pass 90 miles south-southeast of Kadena at 9 p.m. Monday, packing 40-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts at center.

For the moment, Okinawa appears to be spared of Vongfong's JTWC-forecast 35-knot (40-mph) wind band.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. If the JTWC forecast track remains as is, an upgraded TCCOR might not occur.

That said, the long-range spread among model solutions remains vast, JTWC reports -- 800 miles four days out and 1,180 miles five days out, to include extreme outliers. It could pass closer to Okinawa. Or farther away. It's still a mystery, folks.

Model guidance continues to agree on a northeast curve, as do the GFS and CMC ensembles.

Bear in mind, a lot can change in five days. Expect this report to be updated about noon and again at 6 p.m.


6:20 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, Japan time: Whoo-wee, this thing is becoming a nasty beast. Say hello to the first typhoon of the northwest Pacific season!

Vongfong was upgraded to a Category 1-equivalent typhoon late Wednesday afternoon and is forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to reach Category 3-equivalent status by mid-afternoon Thursday.

The latest track projects Vongfong to edge a bit closer to Okinawa than previously forecast.

But by that time, sometime early next week, Vongfong is forecast to be weaker than this weekend, when it's projected to pound the northeastern the Philippines.

Again, a ton of unanswered questions remain. Will it come directly toward? Will it miss Okinawa to the south? Somewhere inbetween? How strong will be it? It's still a mystery. Better answers lie ahead.

At 3 p.m., Vongfong was 535 miles east-southeast of Metro Manila and 1,011 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, still moving slowly west at 5 mph, but packing 81-mph sustained winds and 98-mph gusts -- twice the intensity as 18 hours ago.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal 1 has been raised for portions of Luzon, the Philippines' northernmost main island, in addition to portions of Visayas in central Philippines, according to the national weather authority PAGASA. Expect those to be elevated in the coming hours.

Although Vongfong -- called AmboPH by PAGASA -- is forecast to peak at 115-mph sustained winds and 143-mph gusts as it reaches southeastern Luzon by mid-afternoon Thursday, the latest forecast track takes it further east of Manila and Clark Airport.

If Vongfong remains on its present path, it's forecast to pass 135 miles east-northeast of Manila and 139 miles east-northeast of Clark between 11 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday, then curve northeast along Luzon's east coast before exiting the island Saturday evening.

From there, it's a huge question mark. JTWC's latest track takes Vongfong 182 miles southwest of Kadena, but that's as it's still approaching Okinawa. More should be known in the next 12 hours or so.

Model guidance, the GFS and CMC ensembles continue to agree on a curve northeast once past the Philippines. But there does remain a vast spread among model solutions, some 490 miles four days out and 1,030 miles five days out.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4.

This post will be updated at 6 a.m. and again at noon Thursday.


3:45 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, Japan time: Seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4 has been issued for U.S. bases on Okinawa by 18th Wing commanding officer Brig. Gen. Joel Carey.

This is not directly related to Tropical Storm Vongfong, but because of the novel coronavirus pandemic and to give people more time to prepare for the coming tropical cyclone season, which might already be upon us.

This according to an email sent en masse to commands around the island by the 18th Wing Weather Flight.


12:20 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, Japan time: Wow. Vongfong has surely strengthened rapidly overnight. Currently, the storm is just below Category 1-equivalent intensity, turning due west and heading toward the Philippines, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Vongfong could be a typhoon by as early as this evening.

We're also getting our first clues regarding a possible approach to Okinawa —but it's still at least five days away, and model solutions remain all over the lot.

So many are asking: Will this storm aim straight at Okinawa? Will it miss the island and instead veer to the south? How strong might it be?

The answer right now is: Who knows? We'll have a better idea in the coming hours and days.

At 9 a.m., Tropical Storm Vongfong was 565 miles east-southeast of Manila and 1,006 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, crawling west at 5 mph and packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts — almost double the intensity of 12 hours ago.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal 1 has been issued for portions of Visayas in central Philippines, according to the national weather authority PAGASA. Expect that to be upgraded in the coming hours as Vongfong, named AmboPH by PAGASA, approaches land.

Vongfong's JTWC forecast track has been adjusted to the east somewhat. It's projected to skim the eastern Visayas region before ramming ashore over eastern Luzon at mid-morning Saturday, just east of Manila, packing 110-mph sustained winds and 132-mph gusts, Category 2-equivalent intensity.

Vongfong is then due to bisect Luzon, passing between 95-100 miles east-northeast of Manila and Clark Airport between 6 and 9 a.m. Saturday, then arc north to northeast and exit Luzon early Sunday morning.

That's where the disparity in model solutions begins, extending as far as 1,150 miles between the most extreme outliers and about 750 miles among the main group of solutions, according to JTWC.

To put it simply, there are any number of possibilities. JTWC projects Vongfong to be within 275 miles southwest of Kadena at 9 a.m. Monday.

Model guidance, as well as the GFS and CMC ensembles, all agree on a curve northeast after leaving Luzon. Now, it's just a question of how close the storm comes to Okinawa and how strong it might be in the end.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness All Clear. Kadena's 18th Wing Weather Flight said an upgrade is not yet imminent, but it would be issued if necessary.


11:10 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, Japan time: Vongfong has been upgraded to a tropical storm by both the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and Japan Meteorological Agency.

It continues strengthening and is beginning to make a slow curve toward the Philippines, staying on course to pass close to Clark Airport and Manila as the weekend approaches, JTWC reports.

At 9 p.m., Vongfong -- Macauan for wasp -- was 569 miles east-southeast of Manila and 1,041 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, moving north-northwest at 7 mph and had strengthened to 40-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts.

No tropical cyclone wind signal is in effect at this time for the Philippines, according to the national weather authority PAGASA.

If Vongfong remains on its present heading, it's forecast to curve west, peaking as a Category 1-equivalent typhoon as it reaches Samar Island's north shore at mid-evening Thursday, then curve north, reaching southeastern Luzon at mid-evening Friday.

Vongfong is forecast to remain a significant tropical storm into Saturday, rumbling 18 miles northeast of Manila and 25 miles northeast of Clark between 6 and 11 a.m. Saturday, curving northeast and exiting Luzon sometime Sunday morning.

Model guidance still indicates Vongfong turning northeast and passing just southeast of Okinawa early next week. The GFS ensemble mirrors that somewhat, while the CMC ensemble still favors a track closer to Okinawa, with a spread among solutions of about 300 miles, JTWC reports.

Again, how strong Vongfong might remain as it approaches Okinawa is very hard to say. It's still as much as a week away.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness All Clear, and should stay that way, Vongfong pending, until June 1, when seasonal TCCOR 4 is due to be issued by Kadena's 18th Wing command.

This post will be updated at mid-day Wednesday or sooner, if conditions warrant.


6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, Japan time: Tropical Depression 01W continues to gradually strengthen and remains forecast to curve toward Luzon, passing close to Clark Airport and Subic Bay Freeport, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

At 3 p.m., 01W was 1,079 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and 600 miles east-southeast of Metro Manila, moving slowly north-northwest at 6 mph, packing 35-mph sustained winds and 46-mph gusts at center.

No tropical cyclone wind signal is in effect in the Philippines at this time, according to the national weather authority PAGASA.

If 01W remains on its current course, it's forecast to hook left toward the Philippines, reaching Category 1-equivalent strength as it skims the north coast of Samar Island at mid-afternoon Wednesday, them crashing ashore in southeastern Luzon early Friday morning.

01W is forecast to pass just east of Clark and Subic between 1 and 5 a.m. Saturday, remaining a significant tropical storm as it passes, skims the west coast of Luzon, then hooks northeast and exits the island early Sunday.

How strong 01W might remain is still a mystery. Model guidance does indicate better agreement on a track closer to Okinawa, as do the GFS and CMC ensembles.

But as a tropical storm? Tropical depression? Just a nasty, windy, rainy day? It's anybody's guess right now. We're still taking a week out or thereabouts.

For the moment, U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness All Clear, which should remain in place until June 1, when seasonal TCCOR 4 is issued by 18th Wing command.

This post will be updated at about midnight and again around noon Wednesday.


6 a.m. Tuesday, May 12, Japan time: And so it begins. Say hello to the northwest Pacific's first tropical cyclone of the season.

Tropical Depression 01W spawned overnight east of Mindanao, the Philippines' southernmost and largest main island. It's forecast to strengthen into a Category 1-equivalent typhoon as it moves through the central Philippines the next few days.

There still remain questions and a vast spread among model solutions regarding a possible approach to Okinawa next week, according to model guidance.

At 3 a.m., 01W was 1,158 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, moving north-northwest at 5 mph. It remains well off shore of the Philippines, about 630 miles east-southeast of Manila.

No tropical cyclone warning signals are in effect at this time, according to the Philippines' national weather authority PAGASA.

But if it remains on its current Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track, 01W is projected to skirt the north shore of Samar before ramming ashore in southeastern Luzon by Friday, peaking at 81-mph sustained winds and 98-mph gusts early Friday morning.

01W is forecast to pass 30 miles northeast of Metro Manila and 25 miles northeast of Clark International Airport between 10 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday before exiting the north coast of Luzon early Sunday, maintaining 58-mph sustained winds and 75-mph gusts.

From there, the spread among solutions increases to about 360 miles, JTWC reports.

Though generally agreeing on a curve northeast toward the Ryukyu Islands, the GFS ensemble continues to depict a track southeast of Okinawa and the CMC ensemble still favors one much closer.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness All Clear, which should remain in effect until June 1, when seasonal TCCOR 4 is to be issued. 01W might have plenty to say about it beforehand. Stay tuned. This will be updated Tuesday evening and again at mid-day Wednesday.


7 p.m. Monday, May 11, Japan time: Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

95W Invest remains a tropical disturbance lurking southeast of the Philippines, with the probability of it morphing into a tropical cyclone of some description in the next day or so still high, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

But it could take some time, between a day to a day and a half, before that happens, if it happens, JTWC reports.

The TCFA text states that 95W Invest, some 1,214 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, at 5:45 p.m., is in a good environment for develpment, warm seas, good outflow, low wind shear.

Yet that development is coming slowly, the system struggling to consolidate into something better defined.

Model guidance, the GFS and CMC model ensembles are almost carbon copies of what we've seen the last few days; only the time stamps have changed. Instead of a week out, now six days out. If the northeast curve plays out as the ensembles suggest.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness All Clear, and should stay that way until June 1 when seasonal TCCOR 4 is to be issued by 18th Wing command ... and that's unless 95W has any say in it.

It's a wait and see game. So Storm Tracker will continue to wait and see. Expect an update at mid-day Tuesday, or sooner, if developments warrant.


12:30 p.m. Monday, May 11, Japan time: Regarding 95W Invest, the one thing that remains certain is uncertainty.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center re-issued its tropical cyclone formation alert on 95W at noon. It remains a disturbance, lurking southeast of the Philippines, but not significant enough to warrant a JTWC warning.

Model guidance also remains split on 95W's long-term destination. The GFS ensemble continues to depict a path southeast of Okinawa, while the CMC ensemble still favors a track closer to Okinawa, each with some outliers and varying strengths.

The Philippines' national weather authority PAGASA continues to list 95W as Tropical Depression AmboPH. Forecast track calls for Ambo to skim Visayas and bisect northern Luzon as a weak tropical storm on Friday and Saturday.

Still way too early to say what effect, if any, 95W might have on Okinawa. U.S. bases on island remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness All Clear and should remain so until June 1, when seasonal TCCOR 4 is issued ... unless 95W has a say in things.

One thing is certain: the annual Tsuyu, or rainy season, is open for business on Okinawa, Japan Meteorological Agency reported Monday morning.

Which makes sense, given the rain that came down in buckets on island early Monday. Heavy rain is forecast for Monday evening and Tuesday during the day.


5:45 p.m. Sunday, May 10, Philippines time: 95W Invest has been upgraded to a tropical depression by the Philippines' national weather authority PAGASA. It has been named AmboPH. No Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal has been issued at this time.

4 p.m. Sunday, May 10, Japan time: A tropical cyclone formation alert was issued at mid-day Sunday by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center for disturbance 95W Invest.

While 95W continues to gather itself, and model guidance is starting to come into better agreement, questions remain about its future.

Model guidance as of mid-morning Sunday continues to display a curve northeast toward Japan's Ryukyu Islands once it finishes skimming the east coast of the Philippines.

But the spread among solutions remains vast. The GFS model ensemble continues to depict a track southeast of Okinawa with some variables. The CMC ensemble is sticking with a track closer to Okinawa with a wide array of outliers.

And whether it approaches the island or remains southeast, model solutions indicate that it wouldn't happen for another eight days.

In short, too early to tell. Storm Tracker will keep an eye on it.


6:45 p.m. Saturday, May 9, Japan time: Long-range forecasts seem to agree that 95W Invest could skirt along the Philippines' east coast in the coming days, then turn toward Okinawa eight to 10 days from now.

The questions being, how close might 95W Invest come, and when? Model guidance suggests a vast spread among solutions at the moment, so it remains way too early to tell.

At 6:30 p.m., 95W was about 1,380 miles south-southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa and was laying quasi-stationary, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

JTWC has 95W Invest labeled as a "medium" area for development into a tropical cyclone in the next day or so.

Early model projections agree on 95W possibly developing into a cyclone of medium tropical-storm strength, and forecast to skim the east coast of Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon over the next week.

From there, it's difficult to say precisely where 95W might head. The GFS ensemble depicts a track south-southeast of Okinawa, while the CMC ensemble favors a track much closer to the island.

Kadena's long-range forecast spans the next five days, so too early to tell from that. The local Japanese forecast does indicate much rain in the coming days; could be that the annual "tsuyu," or rainy season, might be declared next week.

And Windfinder's long-range forecast, based on the GFS model, shows winds picking up slightly on May 16 and 18, but nothing more. At the moment.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness All Clear and will remain so until June 1, when seasonal TCCOR 4 is issued by 18th Wing's commanding officer Brig. Gen. Joel Carey.

As Storm Tracker always says: It's weather, campers. A lot can change in that long a span. Keep it tuned here.


4:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, Japan time: Might Okinawa get one of those unwelcome visits later this month by a tropical cyclone of some sort?

Long-range model guidance indicates a new disturbance, 95W Invest , could cross the central Philippines next week before turning northeast toward Okinawa around May 18-20.

It’s way too early to say at this point what 95W might or might not do. We’ve not yet arrived at what would be considered the official northwest Pacific tropical cyclone season. And a lot can change in 10 days to two weeks.

Still, the model ensembles do indicate the possibilities, with the GFS ensemble  depicting a track for 95W closer to Okinawa than the CMC ensemble, which indicates a track closer to southeastern China.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness All Clear; that will change to seasonal TCCOR 4 on June 1. For the moment, long-range weather forecasts call for rain, heavy at times, starting Monday afternoon for three days, kicking back up again on May 18.

In short, the only thing certain is uncertainty. We don’t know yet, but Pacific Storm Tracker will keep watch.
 

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