NASA tracks intensifying Typhoon Hagupit
Typhoon Hagupit continues to intensify as it continued moving through Micronesia on Dec. 3 triggering warnings. NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead and captured an image of the strengthening storm while the Rapidscat instrument aboard the International Space Station provided information about the storm's winds.
The International Space Station-RapidScat instrument monitors ocean winds to provide essential measurements used in weather predictions, including hurricanes. "RapidScat measures wind speed and direction over the ocean surface and captured an image of Hagupit when it was a tropical storm on Dec 2 at 8:50 a.m. GMT," said Doug Tyler of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "The growing storm, north of New Guinea and headed for the Philippines, already had 25 meters/second winds (50 knots/57.5 mph/92.6 kph)."
A typhoon and tropical storm warning are in effect in Micronesia, in addition to a typhoon watch as Hagupit marches through Micronesia on a west-northwesterly track. A typhoon warning is in effect for Yap and Ngulu in Yap state, and a typhoon watch and tropical storm warning is in effect for Kayangel in the Republic of Palau. In addition, a tropical storm warning is in effect for Koror in the Republic of Palau.
NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Typhoon Hagupit on Dec. 3 at 04:30 UTC (Dec. 2 at 11:30 p.m. EST) as it moved through Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. The image showed a concentration of strong thunderstorms around the center with bands of thunderstorms spiraling into it.
At 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST) on Dec. 3, Typhoon Hagupit's maximum sustained winds had increased to 100 knots 115.1 mph/185.2 kph). Typhoon-strength winds extend 30 nautical miles (34.5 miles/55.5 km) out from the center, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 120 nautical miles (138 miles/222 km).
The typhoon was centered near 8.7 north longitude and 138.3 east latitude, just 91 nautical miles (104.7 miles/168.5 km) west-southwest of the island of Yap. The typhoon is kicking up very rough seas with wave heights to 34 feet (10.3 meters). It was moving to the west-northwest at 18 knots (20.7 mph/33.4 kph) and is expected to continue in that general direction.
Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) expect that Hagupit will continue to move west-northwest through Micronesia while intensifying to a Category four typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson scale peaking at 130 knots (149.6 mph/240 kph) over the next two days before it starts to weaken. The JTWC forecast calls for the typhoon to turn to the northwest and stay to the east of the Philippines.