Halong rapidly strengthens into a third super typhoon of the season


Tropical Cyclone "Halong" formed November 2, 2019 east of the Northern Mariana Islands as the 23rd named storm of the 2019 Pacific typhoon season. It reached Category 2 hurricane equivalent early November 4 and then explosively intensified into a Category 5 super typhoon by 15:00 UTC on November 5.

Halong is now the third Category 5 typhoon of the 2019 West Pacific Ocean typhoon season to date. The long-term average (1981 – 2010) for Category 5 typhoons through November 5 is 2, meteorologist Philip Klotzbach said.

The other two Category 5 typhoons so far were Wutip and Hagibis.

"The most Category 5 typhoons in the western North Pacific on record through November 5 is a whopping 9 set back in 1997," Klotzbach said.

At 12:00 UTC on November 5, the center of Tropical Cyclone "Halong" was located 795 km (495 miles) ENE of Saipan, Mariana Islands. Its maximum 1-minute sustained winds were 260 km/h (160 mph) with gusts to 305 km/h (190 mph). Its minimum central pressure at the time was 905 hPa.

The system was moving WNW at 11 km/h (7 mph).

Eye of Super Typhoon "Halong" as seen by ESA/Sentinel-3 on November 5, 2019. Image credit: ESA, Antonio Vecoli

Halong has a 15 km (9 miles) wide eye and is positioned in a favorable environment with robust poleward outflow and low vertical wind shear. Sea surface temperatures remain favorable at 29 °C (84 °F), according to the JTWC. 

Weakening and NNW motion is expected to continue over the next 24 hours. After that, the system will accelerate NE as it tracks within the mid-latitude westerlies. Extra-tropical transition is expected to be completed by November 9.

Super Typhoon "Halong" at 16:20 UTC on November 5, 2019. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB/CIRA

Featured image: Eye of Super Typhoon "Halong" as seen by ESA/Sentinel-3 on November 5, 2019. Image credit: ESA, Antonio Vecoli


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