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