Rammasun continues to avoid land as it moves almost due north across the open waters of the eastern Philippine Sea. The storm is currently moving along the western edge of a subtropical ridge located to the east of the the typhoon. However, the storm is expected to turn more to the northeast early next week and could be a threat to Chichi Jima and Iwo To; whether or not this verifies depends on the timing of the storm's turn to the northeast. A sharper northeast shift would take it very close to these islands; a less drastic turn or a continuous northerly path would take it close to mainland Japan.The storm has reached its peak intensity as a super typhoon. When storms reach this intensity, often times eyewall replacement cycles will slow down strengthening and possibly cause some weakening. However, subtle fluctuations in strength are possible the next 24 hours with the chance of the storm reaching the 160-mph wind mark. The storm is expected to begin to weaken later Sunday and into Monday EDT as the storm moves farther north over an area of cooler weather and increasing wind shear.
Monday, May 12, 2008
As of Saturday afternoon, EDT, the storm was centered near 17.5 north and 132.1 east, or approximately 600 miles south-southeast of Naha, on the island of Okinawa. Rammasun has strengthened rapidly over the past 24 hours and is now a super typhoon with sustained winds of 155 mph with gusts as high as 190 mph. The storm is moving to the north at 15 mph, and this motion is expected to continue over the next 24 hours. The storm currently looks very impressive on satellite imagery with a concentric tight eyewall and well-defined spiral banding over much of the storm.