Tropics heating up as West Pacific is on alert for potential development this week
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 19, 2019, 8:20:39 AM EDT
The tropics may activate in the western Pacific Ocean beginning late this week or this weekend, with locations from Guam to the Philippines on alert for potential impacts.
AccuWeather meteorologists are monitoring an area in the Philippine Sea between Guam and the Philippines as the breeding ground for the basin's next possible tropical depression or storm.
"Warm water and weak wind shear in this corridor may help a cluster of showers and thunderstorms grow and eventually develop into an organized low pressure area," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk.
Houk said the time frame for this potential development would be between Friday, June 21, and Tuesday, June 25.
The West Pacific's next tropical storm or typhoon will be named Sepat.
"There hasn't been a named system in the basin since Typhoon Wutip in February," said Houk. "The last active tropical depression was around the middle of May."
This depression stayed out in the open water and did not affect any landmasses.
Regardless of tropical development, unsettled weather is expected to impact Palau and Yap into this weekend.
Daily downpours can result in flash flooding and rough seas and gusty winds will be dangerous for marine activities.
Enhanced rainfall may expand as far northeast as Guam from Thursday night into Friday.
If a full-fledged tropical system does develop, these islands could be at risk for damaging winds, depending on the storm's track.
In the longer range, a track toward the northwest would take this potential tropical cyclone toward the Philippines next week. Interests from Taiwan to South Korea and Japan should also monitor this tropical threat closely.
Even with the slow start to the season, AccuWeather meteorologists are predicting a near-normal season overall across the West Pacific with 28 named storms, 17 typhoons and six super typhoons.
The driving force for development this season will be warmer-than-normal water temperatures, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Despite the improvements in satellite imagery and coverage across the basin in recent decades, there has been no noticeable increase in the number of typhoons reported each year.
In fact, only one year since 2010 has had an above-normal number of typhoons, with 2015 having 18 such tropical cyclones, just one above the yearly average of 17.
Interests across the region are encouraged to keep checking back with AccuWeather.com and download the free AccuWeather app for the latest updates on this tropical concern.
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