Environment

Jelawat becomes West Pacific’ first typhoon and Super Typhoon of 2018


Tropical Cyclone “Jelawat,” the first typhoon of the 2018 Pacific typhoon season, strengthened into a Super Typhoon on March 30, 2018. Jelawat reached tropical cyclone strength late March 28 and underwent rapid intensification after 00:00 UTC on March 30.

At 15:00 UTC on March 30, Jelawat was moving ENE through the Philippine Sea at 20 km/h (12 mph) with maximum sustained winds near 241 km (150 mph). Its center was located approximately 700 km (440 miles) WNW of Andersen Air Force Base, far away from any populated place.

Jelawat didn’t retain its Super Typhoon strength for many hours, but it did made history as the first typhoon and Super Typhon of the 2018 Pacific typhoon season. The season had two named storms before Jelawat – Tropical Storm “Bolaven” in January and Sanba (Basyang) in February.

Super Typhoon “Jelawat” on March 30, 2018. Credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP/VIIRS

At 12:00 UTC on March 31, Typhoon “Jelawat” was located about 719 km (447 miles) NNW of Ulithi, Yap State. Its 10-minute sustained winds were 140 km/h (85 mph).

Jelawat’s 1-minute sustained winds were 120 km/h (75 mph) at the time, with gusts of up to 195 km/h (120 mph). The minimum barometric pressure was at 965 hPa, and the system was moving eastwards at 17 km/h (10 mph).

Animations courtesy Scott Lindstrom, UW-CIMSS

Tropical Cyclone Jelawat JTWC forecast track on March 31, 2018

Super-typhoon is a term utilized by the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center for typhoons that reach maximum sustained 1-minute surface winds of at least 130 knots/150 mph. This is the equivalent of a strong Saffir-Simpson category 4 or category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin or a category 5 severe tropical cyclone in the Australian basin.

Featured image: Super Typhoon “Jelawat” on March 30, 2018. Credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP/VIIRS



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