Carlotta Slams Mexico, Guchol Takes Aim at Japan
We have two very powerful hurricanes on planet Earth this evening. The first is in the East Pacific, Hurricane Carlotta. Carlotta was a tropical storm this morning, but underwent a classic case of rapid intensification for much of the day, helped by extremely warm waters and favorable atmospheric conditions. It is making landfall in Mexico as I write as a category 2 hurricane with 105mph winds.
Figure 1: Official Forecast Track of Carlotta.
The track, as seen in Figure 1, is a worst case scenario for Mexico, as it is expected to hug the coast as it spins down. This means that in addition to hurricane force winds at the coast, Carlotta will likely dump 7-9 inches of rain over a large part of Mexico with isolated 18 inch amounts. Flooding, flash flooding, and mudslides will be a major concern. As far as intensity, there isn't much to say at this point.
Figure 2: Hurricane Carlotta
Figure 2 shows Carlotta does not have a very well defined eye anymore and has peaked in intensity. It's possible the storm was stronger than the listed 105mph peak, but we'll have to wait until the post season to know that. The official forecast brings the storm down to 80mph in 24 hours, however I believe it will be a tropical storm by then as the rugged terrain of Mexico shreds the system apart. Any redevelopment after Carlotta reemerges over water is unlikely.
Guchol Targets Japan
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Typhoon Guchol is plowing through the West Pacifc Ocean with maximum sustained winds at 100kts according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, making it a category 3 typhoon. The storm is currently west of the northern Philippine islands and is moving NNW at about 12mph. A turn more towards the north and northeast is anticipated soon as the system prepares to recurve, as seen on the forecast track in figure 3.
Figure 3: Official forecast track of Guchol
At this point it appears the storm will make landfall near Tokyo. The question is how strong will it get. The JTWC forecasts the storm to reach 125 kts in 48 hours, which I think is reasonable, maybe just slightly too high. After that, however, things get complicated as Guchol will encounter extreme amounts of wind shear and much cooler waters as it transitions into an extratropical cyclone. This will weaken the storm, but I'm hesitant to buy into the JTWC forecast for the storm to go from 105kts to 65kts between 72 and 96 hours. Powerful storms like Guchol take time to spin down. By the time it reaches Tokyo it will probably look like crap after taking a beating from so much shear but I think it's entirely possible it will still have some category 2 winds as it speeds through. The interaction between Guchol and these unfavorable conditions is not easy to predict however, and it's possible the storm could end up far weaker than what I and the JTWC think if it doesn't reach its forecast peak and begins weakening sooner than expected. The people of Japan should watch this closely as a lot can change.
Figure 4: Looks can be deceiving. While Guchol doesn't appear to have an eye, it does, but it is so small it's only visible on microwave imagery!
The Atlantic is quiet right now. There are many potential scenarios about some storms that may develop sometime at some point, but as you can tell from my wording there, I'm not worried about it right now. Models have been so all over the place that as of right now I don't see any development before the end of June. We'll see.
Thank you as always for reading! I should have an update tomorrow on Guchol. Enjoy your weekend!!