From Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon, Wongpang – known as Ambo in the Philippines – easily meets that definition and is the equivalent of a major hurricane with winds blowing 60 mph (95 km) from a normal tropical storm. Maximum sustained winds are now up to 120 mph (195 km) and the storm is still getting stronger.
This part of the world is not new to rapid intensity. Many storms intensify each year due to extremely warm sea surface temperatures.
But it was the first named storm of the season in the West Pacific.
It was not until Tuesday, and now it will hit the Philippines at the Saffir-Simpson level, the equivalent of a Category 3 or 4 storm.
Impact of Wongbang
Weather models had difficulty predicting Wongbang’s intensity because of the small size of the storm.
Now that the storm has intensified so quickly, it will no doubt be more than a rain maker when it reaches the coast.
“Too much rain, damaging winds and powerful storm surge are the main concerns of this storm,” said CNN meteorologist Tom Chatter.
“What is a silver lining because it is a small storm? The strength of a strong hurricane extends only 25 kilometers from the air center.”
Damaging winds only occur in the immediate course of the storm, with heavy rains still having a widespread impact.
Rainfall ranging from 100 to 250 mm (four to 10 inches) will affect vast areas of the Visayas and Bikol regions through northern Luzon.
According to local time, Wongpong will cross the coast of Samar Province on Thursday night in the Bikol region north of Legaspi.
After hitting the Bicol region, the storm will retain its strength and move to Northeast Luzon Friday night.
“The center of the storm is likely to be on the coast,” Chatter said. “This is not a great opportunity, but if the forecast turns 50 kilometers to the east, it will put bad winds and storms off the coast.”
Start slow to the 2020 Hurricane Seasn
Western Pacific hurricane season has no definite beginning and end like the Atlantic hurricane season, as storms can occur throughout the year.
Although the peak of hurricane season is in late summer, frequent named storms occur in the winter or early spring due to the Pacific’s hot water.
According to Bill Clotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University, this is the eighth most recent start of the season since the 1950s. The last time we started was 2016, when the first named storm of the season didn’t arrive until the first week of July.
The Philippines is home to the main breeding ground of the tropical Pacific. In an average year, the region suffers from eight to nine storms.
According to Klotzbach, the late-onset seasons are somewhat quiet, but the evidence is weak.