Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 23 Aug 2019 12am







    Thursday, August 22, 2019-3:51:52A.M.






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Lower risk of super typhoons this year, NWS says

THERE is a lower probability that the CNMI will experience super typhoons similar to Yutu in the remaining months of 2019, the National Weather Service said in an assessment.

Prepared by warning coordination meteorologist Charles “Chip” Guard and Dr. Mark Lander of the University of Guam-Water Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, the assessment also includes internal forecast schemes for Micronesia, the current and predicted states of the El Niño Southern Oscillation climate pattern, and the historical tropical cyclone activity associated with past El Niño Southern Oscillation states.

According to the assessment, the region is now in the waning stages of a weak El Niño that began in the latter half of 2018.

“We have been experiencing a rather robust post-El Niño drought with only feeble early season tropical cyclone development,” Guard said.

He added that Super Typhoon Wutip in February was an extension of the 2018 season rather than the beginning of the 2019 season.

Observations indicate that the El Niño is weakening faster than previously expected, Guard said.

Most climate forecast models, he added, now suggest that the El Niño will not last into the winter as earlier expected, and that it will soon transition into neutral status.

So what does this mean for the CNMI?

Guard said the predictions for the overall risk of a tropical cyclone affecting Rota, Tinian or Saipan are slightly less than those for 2018.

He said this is based on the probability that there will not be a continuation of the El Niño into the end of the year, and that the sea temperatures near the date line will be cooler than earlier anticipated.

As a result, he said, they are anticipating slightly less activity than in 2018 and a lower probability that the typhoons will reach Category 4 or Category 5 Intensity before moving through the Marianas.

Guard said each island could experience one or more severe tropical storms with sustained winds of 50 to 73 miles per hour, and one to two typhoons with sustained winds of 74 mph or greater. But this does not mean that these islands would be directly hit or hit with storms of comparable intensity as those of 2015 or 2018, he added.

In fact, the likelihood is that typhoon winds experienced on the islands would be weaker than those of 2018 from Super Typhoon Yutu, Typhoon Mangkhut and Typhoon Jebi, Guard said.

“This is, firstly, because individual islands usually experience the winds in the outer portions of typhoons; secondly, because it is rare that a typhoon is at Category 4 of Category 5 intensity when it is passing near or over any of your islands. This is especially the case when sea temperatures near the date line are not significantly warmer than normal,” Guard said.