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Tropical Cyclone Yutu May Threaten Iwo Jima
05.18.07
 
Tropical Cyclone Yutu Brushes Iwo Jima, Weakening Rapidly

Tropical cyclone Yutu passed just south of the Japanese island of Iwo Jima on Mon., May 21, bringing heavy rains and gusty winds. At the time, Yutu was still classified as a typhoon, but fortunately the fiercest part of the storm appears to have spared the island. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Mon., May 21 (0300 UTC Tues., May 22), tropical cyclone Yutu was located near 26.8 degrees north latitude and 145.6 degrees east longitude, or about 195 miles east-northeast of Iwo Jima. Storm movement was toward the east-northeast at 20 knots (23 mph), with maximum sustained winds near 65 knots (75 mph), and gusts to 80 knots (92 mph). Wave heights near the storm center were approximately 26 feet.

On late Mon., May 21, satellite imagery showed that much of the storm's intense thunderstorms were eroding rapidly as it transformed into an extratropical system. As the cyclone travels over cool ocean waters and encounters greater wind shear (changing wind speed and direction with height), forecasters expect Yutu to become fully extratropical by midday Tues., May 22, as it races on a northeasterly path.

TRMM image of Tropical Cyclone Yutu on May 21, 2007
Click image to enlarge

This image of tropical cyclone Yutu was taken by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite at 5:49 p.m. EDT (2149 UTC) on Mon., May 21, as the cyclone was weakening over the North Pacific Ocean. It shows a top-down-view of rain intensity. Estimated rain rates of 25 to 45 millimeters (0.98 inches to 1.77 inches) per hour were still common, especially north of the storm center. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Image credit: TRMM project. Storm summary: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center



After forming west of Guam on Thurs., May 17 as the second named storm of the North Pacific cyclone season, Yutu quickly gained intensity, but should be weakening as it nears the Japanese island of Iwo Jima early Mon., May 21.

At 5:00 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC) on Fri., May 18, tropical cyclone Yutu was located near 12.9 degrees north latitude and 134.1 degrees east longitude, or about 590 miles west of the island of Guam. Storm movement was toward the west-northwest at 17 knots (20 mph), with maximum sustained winds near 60 knots (69 mph), and gusts to 75 knots (86 mph). Wave heights near the storm center were approximately 21 feet.

An area of low pressure over western Japan should take Yutu on a more northerly and accelerated path over the next few days. Cooler sea surface temperatures combined with less favorable conditions aloft will induce considerable weakening and a transition into an extratropical system by late Sun., May 20.

Tropical Cyclone Yutu


This satellite image shows tropical cyclone Yutu at 1:30 a.m. EDT (0530 UTC) on Fri., May 18. Bright white areas indicate deep, thick clouds. The system appears to have a somewhat symmetric shape, indicative of a well-organized cyclone. The red marking indicates the location of the cyclone's center. Image credit: JTWC/SATOPS. Storm summary: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center.

 
 
Mike Bettwy
Goddard Space Flight Center