Typhoon Mawar intensifies in Western Pacific, Hong Kong Observatory monitors closely

Credit: NASA Terra/MODIS

22nd May 2023 – (Hong Kong) Typhoon Mawar has intensified and could become a strong typhoon, but its potential impact on Taiwan is still uncertain and will be assessed in the coming days. The typhoon is currently located over the western North Pacific and is expected to move towards the seas east of the Philippines later this week, before potentially affecting Taiwan next week. The typhoon’s outer subsiding air will also bring hot weather to Guangdong early next week. According to Hong Kong Observatory Mawar now over the western North Pacific will move towards the seas east of the Philippines in the latter part of this week. Under the influence of its outer subsiding air, it will be very hot over Guangdong early next week.

Meteorologist Daniel Wu in Taiwan stated on 24th May that Mawar has intensified and become a typhoon in waters to the east of the Philippines. Wu predicts that the typhoon will gradually turn north-northwest to northwest but will still be far away from Taiwan over the next five days. However, predictions from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) for the next 10 days indicate that the typhoon has a 20% chance of making landfall in Taiwan. Wu cautioned that forecasts can change rapidly, and more observation is needed in the coming days.

On 21st May, Mawar became the season’s first typhoon. The latest forecast track shows a westward bend in the vicinity of the Marianas with passage near or over Guam and Rota, where a typhoon warning is now in effect.

At 00:00 UTC on 22nd May, the centre of Typhoon “Mawar” was located about 200 km (125 miles) NNW of Satawal. The system had maximum 10-minute sustained winds of 130 km/h (80 mph), with gusts up to 185 km/h (115 mph), and maximum 1-minute sustained winds of 155 km/h (100 mph). The minimum central barometric pressure at the time was 975 hPa, and the system was moving NNW at 11 km/h (6.9 mph).

The latest radar images coming from Guam indicate that rainbands are remaining offshore at the current time. There appears to be minimal dry-air entraining into the system from the south. However, the system has cocooned itself in a well-protected marsupial pouch of warm, moist air with warm sea surface temperatures below and low to moderate vertical wind shear.

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Typhoon “Mawar” is expected to continue on the same north-northwest track and intensify along the route towards the Mariana Islands. The system will continue to steadily intensify as it tracks to the north-northwest under the influence of the northeast ridge. The environment surrounding the typhoon will remain favourable for the forecast duration (5 days), characterised by warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs), robust outflow aloft, and negating any negative effects of limited dry-air entrainment.

Due to the favourable environment, Mawar will continue developing into a more intense system over the next several days, fuelled by robust outflow aloft and warm SSTs, and reach a peak intensity of 185 km/h (125 mph) just before reaching the islands of Guam and Rota.

After it moves through the Rota Channel, the northeast ridge to the east will reorient and build further northeast of the system, forcing Mawar to move on a more flattened west-northwestward course. This path may take the typhoon close to Taiwan, but uncertainties remain about the potential impact on the island.