Super Typhoon Wutip Sets February Records
February 26, 2019
Super Typhoon Wutip
Super Typhoon Wutip peaked as a Category Five storm on Monday morning, the first ever for the Northern Hemisphere in the month of February and the first February Super Typhoon since 1911. Although sea-surface temperatures in the region were not particularly impressive (~81-82°F), Wutip’s rapid intensification is attributed to a period of nearly non-existent upper-level wind shear and a pair of impressive upper-level outflow channels.
Fortunately, Wutip is not expected to impact any major land areas. The closest approach to a populated area was about 160 miles from the island of Guam on Saturday (well before Wutip’s peak strength) which reported some wind gusts around 50kts and some areas of flash flooding across the southern part of the island. The village of Inarajan reported over 16 inches of rain over the weekend, but no significant structural damage.
At present (0300UTC 26-Feb), Wutip is moving through a region of lower sea-surface temperatures and increasing upper-level shear, which will allow for steady weakening. The system has also set the record for the longest-lived February typhoon (5 days at or above 65kts), which will extend for about another 24-36 hours before dropping below the typhoon threshold late Wednesday (local time).