Tropical Storm Rai could be a typhoon before reaching the Philippines


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This satellite loop, recorded on Monday evening local time, shows tropical storm Rai over the Philippine Sea. Rai will finally meet the Philippines later this week. Image courtesy of RAMMB / CIRA

Tropical storm Rai formed on Monday evening, local time, as it swirled through the warm waters of the southern Philippine Sea. AccuWeather Weather forecasters expect the system to reach typhoon strength before it sweeps across the Philippines later this week, where it could cause damage.

Due to different naming conventions, Rai is known as Odette in the Philippines. The Filipino Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration will name the storm Odette as soon as it enters its problem area.

“Rai will continue to strengthen as it turns west-northwest earlier this week,” said AccuWeather Senior International Forecaster and Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

The waters that Rai is said to travel across are warm enough to continue strengthening. There is a lack of strong ones Wind shear along the way will also aid the strengthening and maintenance of every tropical system.

The last-mentioned tropical system in the basin was Super Typhoon Nyatohwho roamed the open waters of the Western Pacific from late November to early December.

While Rai is unlikely to get as intense as Nyatoh, the storm is expected to spread into a typhoon and could pose a serious threat to life and property in the Philippines in the second half of the week if it does according to Nicholls, heavy rains, floods and noxious winds hit the central and southern Philippines.

Rai is expected to reach a peak intensity equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale (maximum sustained winds 96-110 mph).

Harmful gusts of wind can reach 80 to 100 miles per hour along the storm’s projected path through the Philippines, Nicholls warned. Cities like Cebu and Iloilo can experience the full force of the storm from Thursday to Friday. Rai is expected to hit land in the southeastern Philippines.

Strong winds can topple trees onto roadways or power lines, and power outages can result. Weak structures can also damage roofs and exterior walls.

Heavy rain can cause flooding in the southern and central Philippines as well. Rain totals can reach 4-8 inches in many areas. The heaviest rain is expected along a strip that extends approximately 100 miles north and south of Rai’s trail.

This rain can wash away some roads and cause mudslides in mountainous terrain. Forecasters also warn that rivers rise rapidly and flood low-lying roads.

In addition to flooding from rainfall, a storm surge that can reach several feet high near Rais Track is expected to cause coastal flooding as the storm’s strong winds push water toward the coast.

While Rai is expected to lose wind force as it winds north across the South China Sea, weather forecasters say residents of eastern Vietnam and southern China should be monitoring the storm and be ready to prepare if the Rai approaches land.

The last storm to hit the Philippines this season was a severe tropical storm Compasu, known as Maring in the Philippines, in the first half of October. That storm hit land near Fuga Island in the northern Philippines on October 11, before venturing across the South China Sea and making a second landfall along the east coast of Hainan.
In contrast to the Atlantic and East Pacific Basins, the Western Pacific has no seasonal limits for its tropical season. On average, most of the tropical activity in the Western Pacific occurs between May and October.

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