PACIFIC STORM TRACKER
Typhoon 16W (Meranti), #21
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 14, 2016
10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, Taiwan time: Meranti has been downgraded to a strong Category 4-equivalent typhoon, packing 144-mph sustained winds and 173-mph gusts at center as it crosses the Formosa Strait headed toward landfall Thursday morning over southeastern China.
And what a ruckus it caused as it passed southwest of Taiwan as the second super typhoon of the season, each having hit Taiwan. The sixth storm ever to breach the 185-mph sustained wind barrier. The strongest storm to hit Taiwan in nearly 50 years.
More than 260,000 homes were without power across southern Taiwan, CNN reported citing Taiwanese authorities. More than 370 domestic and international flights were canceled and local train service was suspended.
At 8 p.m., Meranti was 200 miles west-southwest of Taipei, heading northwest at 14 mph. Meranti is forecast to maintain typhoon strength as it crashes ashore before dying out over the mountainous terrain.
12:40 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, Philippines time: Public Storm Warning Signals continue to be lowered, Signal 2 for Batanes island group and Signal 1 for the Babuyan island group, as Super Typhoon Meranti continues making its way out of the Philippines’ area of responsibility.
10:45 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, Taiwan-Philippines time: Meranti has diminished ever so slightly, down to 178-mph sustained winds and 219-mph gusts, down from peaks of 190 and 230 six hours earlier. But Meranti remains arguably the most powerful Pacific tropical cyclone ever, 890 millibars at center, 5 below Haiyan in 2013, and remains on course to wallop the southeastern China coast early Thursday.
At 8 a.m., Meranti was 247 miles south-southwest of Taipei, rumbling northwest at 13 mph. It remains a vicious Category 5-equivalent beast, with the 64-knot (74-mph) wind radius extending 81 miles northeast, 63 miles southeast, 58 miles southwest and 75 miles northwest. It remains due to pass 43 miles south of Kaohsiung, along the southwest coast, at 1 p.m.
Torrential rain advisories remain up from one end of the island to the other, with torrential and extremely torrential rain expected all along the south and east coasts, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau. Flash flooding and landslides are likely, if not already happening.
Meranti, called Ferdie in the Philippines, is expected to exit that country’s area of responsibility by 1 p.m., though Public Storm Warning Signal 3 remains up for the Batanes islands and Signal 2 for the Babuyan islands and for northern Luzon.
Meranti is forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to remain a Category 5-equivalent storm past Taiwan, but diminish sharply as it approaches the southeastern China coast, rapidly dissipating in a couple of days as it encounters the rugged terrain.
10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, Philippines time: Public Storm Warning Signal 4 has been canceled for the northern Philippines’ Batanes island group. Signal 3 remains up for Batanes, Signal 2 for the Babuyan island group and areas in northern Luzon. Super Typhoon Meranti continues to move northwest out of the Philippines’ area of responsibility.
5 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, Taiwan-Philippines time: Little change except that Meranti has peaked at even higher wind speeds, 190-mph sustained and 230-mph gusts at center. What a vicious beast. All warning signals remain the same for all areas. Meranti has become the sixth named storm to reach 185-mph sustained winds, the most recent being Haiyan in 2013.
11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, Taiwan-Philippines time: Super Typhoon Meranti has peaked at 184-mph sustained winds and 225-mph gusts at center, rivaling Haiyan in late 2013 as one of the strongest storms on record in the Pacific.
It remains on course to knife its way between southern Taiwan and the northern Philippines, taking a dead aim on the Batanes and Babuyan island groups in the northern Philippines. Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, and U.S. facilities in the northern Philippines should be relatively out of harm’s way.
Public Storm Warning Signal 4 has been raised for the Batanes islands and Signal 3 for the Babuyan islands, while Signal 2 is up for northern areas of Luzon island, according to the Philippines’ national weather authority PAGASA.
Meranti is forecast to remain a super typhoon as it passes 236 miles south-southwest of Taipei. Meranti is then forecast to diminish rapidly as it crashes ashore in southeastern China by mid-morning Thursday, then die out over land.
5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, Taiwan-Philippines time: Wow. Just wow. What a monster Super Typhoon Meranti has become. And may yet become. The second Category 5-equivalent super storm of the northwest Pacific’s season has intensified to 178-mph sustained winds and 219-mph gusts at center, and threatens to become the most powerful Pacific storm on record.
At 2 a.m., Meranti was 500 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, tracking west-northwest at 17 mph. If it remains on course, Meranti is forecast to peak at 184-mph sustained winds and 225-mph gusts at center sometime Tuesday. That would rival Haiyan in 2013 as the northwest Pacific’s most powerful storm ever.
The good news for Taiwan, if there is any, is that Meranti’s track has shifted further south, appearing to knife between it and the Philippines as it rumbles northwest. Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects Meranti to track about 245 miles south-southwest of Taipei at mid-afternoon Wednesday.
But as the track shifts south, Meranti, called Ferdie in the Philippines, is expected to further impact the northern island groups as well as the northern portions of Luzon. Public Storm Warning Signal 2 is up for the Batanes and Babuyan islands and Signal 1 for northern Luzon. Those could be easily upgraded, and quite soon.
6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, Taiwan-Philippines time: The news gets worse for southern Taiwan and the outer northern Philippines islands. Meranti has intensified into the second super typhoon of the northwest Pacific tropical cyclone season and continues making a beeline northwest toward landfall, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
At 2 p.m., Meranti was 567 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, rumbling west-northwest at 13 mph, packing 150-mph sustained winds and 184-mph gusts at center. Meranti is forecast to peak at 161-mph sustained winds and 198-mph gusts overnight Monday into Tuesday, continuing to draw a bead on southern Taiwan.
Meranti is forecast to pass about 190 miles south-southwest of Taipei, the island’s capital, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, still packing 150-mph sustained winds and 184-mph gusts as it crashes ashore.
The Batanes and Babuyan island groups and northern Luzon should also feel effects of Meranti, which has been labeled Ferdie in the Philippines. Public Storm Warning Signal 1 remains raised for those areas of the country, according to the Philippines’ national weather authority PAGASA.
11 am. Monday, Sept. 12, Taiwan-Philippines time: Meranti’s newest forecast track has shifted a bit further south, toward the southern tip of Taiwan, which could feel significant effects along with the northern Philippines’ Batanes island group, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and weather bureaus in each country.
At 8 a.m., Meranti was 614 miles south-southeast of Kadena Air Base on Okinawa and tracking northwest at 16 mph, packing 132-mph sustained winds and 161-mph gusts at center. It’s forecast to peak at super-typhoon strength, 155-mph sustained winds and 190-mph gusts at center late Tuesday evening.
There’s quite a spread among model solutions, about 140 miles, as Meranti approaches the China coast. If it remains on its current JTWC forecast track, Meranti is projected to plow over the southern tip of Taiwan at mid-morning Wednesday at just below super-typhoon intensity, 144-mph sustained winds and 173-mph gusts at center.
No warnings have been posted yet by Taiwan’s central weather bureau, though that could change soon. The Philippines’ national weather authority PAGASA has raised Public Storm Warning Signal 1 for the Batanes and Babuyan island groups north of Luzon, and is calling 16W Ferdie.
6 a.m. Monday, Sept. 12, Taiwan time: Meranti continues to intensify on its journey west and could become the second super typhoon to strike Taiwan this season, following Nepartak in July.
At 3 a.m., Meranti was 660 miles south-southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, tracking west-northwest at 15 mph. It’s forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to become a super typhoon early Tuesday morning, and peak at 155-mph sustained winds and 190-mph gusts at center later Tuesday.
Meranti remains on course to ram ashore over south-central Taiwan late Wednesday, packing at least 138-mph sustained winds and 167-mph gusts as it rams 127 miles southwest of Taipei at about 1 a.m. Thursday. It remains forecast to curve along eastern China into the weekend.
11 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, Taiwan time: Little change to Meranti, still forecast to slam into southeastern Taiwan as a Category 4-equivalent typhoon, packing sustained 138-mph winds and 167-mph gusts as it crashes ashore at mid-evening Wednesday. Models show a curve northeast into China, with some models depicting Meranti returning over water east of China as a middling tropical storm.
6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, Japan time: Meranti was upgraded to Category 1-equivalent typhoon status by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center late Sunday afternoon, and remains on course to collide with east-central Taiwan by mid-week.
At 3 p.m., Meranti was 787 miles southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, rumbling west-northwest at 15 mph, packing 81-mph sustained winds and 98-mph gusts at center.
If it remains on its current course, Meranti is due to make landfall over south-central Taiwan at 2 p.m. Wednesday Taiwan time, still packing 138-mph sustained winds and 167-mph gusts at center.
That’s just slightly less than Meranti’s projected peak winds, 144-mph sustained and 173-mph gusts about mid-afternoon Tuesday.
As it begins arcing north, Meranti is forecast to pass about 100 miles south-southwest of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, at 3 a.m. Thursday, still packing Category 1-equivalent winds at center.
JTWC still projects Meranti to cross the Formosa Strait and make secondary landfall over southeastern China at mid-afternoon Thursday.
Meranti should remain well out of Okinawa’s way, forecast to pass 440 miles southwest of Kadena at 6 p.m. Tuesday. U.S. bases on island remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4.
12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, Taiwan time: Little change to Meranti’s forecast track and intensity. Meranti should become a Category 1-equivalent typhoon later Sunday or early Monday and peak at 138-mph sustained winds and 167-mph gusts at mid-morning Tuesday.
If it remains on its current path, Meranti should crash ashore over east-central Taiwan at mid-afternoon Wednesday, passing 110 miles southwest of Taipei at 5 a.m. Thursday, still packing 115-mph sustained winds and 138-mph gusts at center as it makes its way northwest. No warning signals are up in Taiwan as of yet.
Meranti should then cross the Formosa Strait and make secondary landfall over east-southeast China Thursday evening. Some model solutions then peg Meranti to cross back out over water toward Japan’s main islands, while other models show Meranti making a straight run into China and dying out.
Meranti is forecast to enter the Philippines’ area of responsibility, with the Batanes island group north of Luzon most vulnerable to Meranti’s southern quadrants. The Philippines’ national weather authority PAGASA is naming it Ferdie, and anticipates it passing through Batanes within a couple of days. No public storm warning signals are in effect yet.
Okinawa and its U.S. bases remain well out of harm’s way; Meranti is forecast to track about 455 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base at 8 p.m. Tuesday. U.S. bases on island remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4.
11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, Taiwan-Philippines time: West, west, ever further west goes the forecast track for Tropical Storm Meranti. The latest now puts the 16th numbered storm of the northwest Pacific tropical cyclone season on a collision course with central Taiwan Wednesday evening, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
Which means ever better news for Okinawa. If Meranti remains on its current track, it should pass about 460 miles southwest of Kadena Air Base at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, just before its JTWC forecast peak of 132-mph sustained winds and 161-mph gusts at center.
But the news worsens for Taiwan, which is now right in Meranti’s crosshairs. It should hit central Taiwan if it remains on course by late afternoon or early evening Wednesday, about 105 miles south-southwest of Taipei, the capital, around 2 a.m. Thursday. It should still be a powerful Category 2-equivalent typhoon.
From there, dynamic model solutions point to a northeast curve back toward Japan’s southwestern main island of Kyushu and perhaps the southeastern coast of the Korean peninsula. But the JTWC track also points to Meranti crossing the Formosa Strait and making secondary landfall over eastern China. The question after that being, does Meranti make it back over water before dying out?
As always, PST has an eye on Meranti.
6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, Japan time: Taiwan, not Okinawa, appears to be the target of choice for Tropical Storm Meranti, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and the latest series of model solutions.
With every passing update, Meranti’s projected path continues drifting further west, and dynamic model guidance has come into much better agreement on a path taking Meranti over northern Taiwan and possibly into the east China coast. From there, a curve northeast toward Japan’s main islands also remains possible. PST will keep an eye on things.
If Meranti remains on its forecast track, it’s expected to pass 414 miles southwest of Kadena Air Base at 3 a.m. Wednesday as a Category 4-equivalent typhoon, packing sustained 132-mph winds and 161-mph gusts, but at storm’s center, well away from Okinawa.
Meranti is then forecast to ram Taiwan’s northeast coast and plow 27 miles southwest of Taipei, the capital, at 3 a.m. Thursday, by which time Meranti is forecast to have lost quite a bit of its power. Yet it will still pack a significant punch, 81-mph winds and 98-mph gusts as it crosses the Formosa Strait and heads toward east China.
Noon Saturday, Sept. 10, Japan time: 16W has intensified into a tropical storm, and its latest forecast track takes it further away from Okinawa, and closer to Taiwan, than previously reported, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
At 9 a.m., 16W was 338 miles west-northwest of Naval Station “Big Navy” on Guam, tracking west-northwest at 13 mph, picking up forward speed. 16W is projected to peak at Category 4-equivalent status, 138-mph sustained winds and 167-mph gust at center at around mid-morning Wednesday.
If it remains on course, 16W is forecast to curve 320 miles west-northwest of Kadena Air Base at around 7 a.m. Thursday. But there remains a spread of some 330 miles in model solutions, with most favoring a curve northeast toward Japan’s main islands or South Korea once past the Ryukyus, and others projecting a straight run into Taiwan.
U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4 for the moment. Officials at 18th Wing Weather Flight said they would monitor 16W over the weekend, with a possible decision on accelerated TCCORs coming early next week, depending on 16W’s track. PST will wait and see as will they.
6:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, Japan time: Much uncertainty remains about where Tropical Depression 16W’s final destination lies.
Model solutions agree generally on a northwest track toward or around Okinawa, followed by a curve northeast toward Japan’s main islands or the southeast coast of the Korean peninsula. But the spread among those models runs more than 520 miles, from the northern Philippines all the way to just southeast of Kyushu in Japan.
And the 16W’s erratic movement in the short term, well, that’s just complicating things.
For the moment, at 3 a.m., 16W was moving almost due west of Guam at 8 mph, and was 236 miles west-northwest of Naval Base “Big Navy,” packing sustained 35-mph winds and 46-mph gusts at center.
If 16W remains on its forecast track, it’s expected to head northwest, becoming a Category 1-equivalent typhoon early-morning Monday, then start curving more north into early morning Thursday, closing within 162 miles west-southwest of Kadena Air Base as a Category 4-equivalent storm, 144-mph sustained winds and 173-mph gusts.
U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4.
1 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, Guam time: Looks like Tropical Depression 16W could end up passing closer to Okinawa than earlier reported, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
16W continues tracking northwest, at 7 mph and just below tropical-storm strength at about 10 p.m. Friday. If 16W remains on its present course, it could begin curving north and pass 151 miles west-southwest of Kadena Air Base at 9 p.m. Wednesday, as a Category 4-equivalent typhoon, 144-mph sustained winds and 173-mph gusts at center.
There still remains a spread of about 145 miles among dynamic models, but most agree on a north to northeast turn about four or five days out. PST continues keeping close watch.
7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, Guam time: Tropical Depression 16W, still as yet unnamed, has resumed a northwest track. It’s now on course to travel away from Guam and in the general direction of the Ryukyu Islands by the middle of next week as a Category 4-equivalent typhoon, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
At 4 p.m., 16W was 162 miles west of Guam, headed north-northwest at 7 mph packing sustained 35-mph winds and 46-mph gusts at center. No watches or warnings are in effect for Guam or the main Marianas Islands, according to the National Weather Service on Guam.
If 16W remains tracking as forecast, it’s projected to keep heading northwest for about four days, then begin curving north, right over Miyako Island and about 185 miles southwest of Kadena Air Base, packing sustained 144-mph winds and 173-mph gusts at center.
As for what effect 16W would have on Okinawa, it’s wait and see for the moment, according to Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight. U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. And eyes are also on a disturbance behind 16W, labeled Invest 90W for the moment.
1:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, Guam time: As if there haven’t been enough unusual storm tracks this season, now, newly formed 16W actually backtracked a tad toward Guam over six hours Friday morning.
But for the typhoon-starved folks on Okinawa, take heart; the island may pick up its first hit yet, as 16W, as yet unnamed, remains on forecast track to head into Okinawa’s neighborhood by the middle of next week.
Though it remains early in 16W’s life cycle, dynamic model guidance seems to agree on such a track, though there’s a good spread of about 400 miles. Some models still show a track toward Ishigaki, others right over Okinawa, still more to the island’s northeast, along with a curve toward Japan’s main islands. Which has been more typical of the current season.
At 10 a.m., 16W was 155 west-southwest of Guam, but tracking slowly southeast at 6 mph. Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects 16W to reverse course, become a tropical storm rather quickly and begin tracking northwest toward the Ryukyus.
If it remains on its current course, 16W could come 288 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base at mid-morning Wednesday, as a Category 3-equivalent typhoon, 127-mph sustained winds and 155-mph gusts at storm’s center.
What effect 16W would have on Okinawa remains to be seen. For the moment, U.S. bases on island remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4.
7 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, Guam time: A new tropical depression formed overnight 180 miles west of Guam. The intial forecast track by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center takes 16W 255 miles southwest of Guam by early Wednesday morning as a strong Category 3-equivalent typhoon, 127-mph sustained winds and 155-mph gusts at center as it passes over Ishigaki island.
But it’s early in the life of a tropical cyclone. Dynamic model guidance is in general agreement long-term on a curve northeast toward Japan’s main islands after it reaches Okinawa’s vicinity. Some models take 16W west of Okinawa, others right over the island, others northeast of it. And there’s a question of how long 16W will take to develop and how quickly it will move toward the Ryukyus. PST is keeping watch.
Should 16W become a named storm, it will be called Meranti, Malaysian for a type of tree.