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Rammasun Rapidly Strengthens Over South China Sea

July 17, 2014; 12:54 PM ET

Typhoon Rammasun underwent a period of rapid intensification on Thursday.

While the storm weakened and looked almost ragged at times on Wednesday, by Thursday Rammasun had the look for a very strong and dangerous typhoon.

Satellite image of Rammasun during rapid strengthening on Thursday, courtesy of NOAA.

Rammasun was moving through an area of moderate wind shear through early Thursday as it moved through the South China Sea. Once passing west of 115 degrees east, the typhoon encountered an area of very low wind shear (5-10 knots) and very warm waters (88-90 F).

This combined with great outflow around the storm created the perfect environment for rapid intensification.

The above image shows wind shear tendency during the 24-hour time period of 12Z Wednesday and 12Z Thursday, courtesy of UW-CIMSS.

An area of 10-20 knots reduction in wind shear occurred just north and west of the track of Rammasun creating the very favorable environment for rapid strengthening.

The above image shows current wind shear values in knots, courtesy of UW-CIMSS.

The above image shows that Rammasun will continue to track through an area of light wind shear which will allow the typhoon to remain at least at Category 3 strength when compared to a hurricane in the eastern Pacific or Atlantic ocean.

This storm will bring widespread damaging to northern Hainan Island and the Leizhou Peninsula of Guangdong province Friday afternoon into Friday night.

Rammasun will then target northern Vietnam Saturday into Sunday.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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International Weather
The International Weather Blog, written by Eric Leister, covers weather stories from around the world, with a focus on threatening weather events, and also interesting weather phenomenon.