On the heels of Tropical Storm Sinlaku, a new tropical threat is beginning to organize. Currently located near the Caroline Islands, a disturbance is beginning to organize into the next named system.
The disturbance, currently identified as Invest 95W, was rather impressive on satellite Sunday morning with a developing center of circulation.
There is in fact very little preventing 95W from developing. Sea surface temperatures are very warm, providing the fuel for showers and thunderstorms that will make up the cyclone. Wind shear, which will prevent that convection from organizing, remains very low.
The only factor restricting development at this time is the disturbances proximity to the equator. Generally speaking, tropical cyclones need to be approximately 5 degrees over greater away from the equator in order to develop well organized low level circulations. As 95W tracks to the west-northwest it is expected to accelerate its rate of development.
While development looks likely, there is much less certainty associated with storm track. Two scenarios have presented themselves in the modeling and are typical with tropical cyclones that form in this region.
The first and more likely track is a sharp recurve into the Philippine Sea and across the Volcano Islands and out into the Northwest Pacific, where it would dissipate without bringing major impacts to significant populations.
The second scenario would be a more westerly track, bringing the cyclone into the southern Philippines and in contact with a much more significant population.
According to AccuWeather.com meteorologist Evan Duffey, the first is a much more favorable situation. "While the Volcano Islands will be threatened by a recurving tropical cyclone, the number of people in the storms path would be significantly lower than a direct hit to the Philippines." According to Duffey, nine tropical cyclones have crossed the Philippines this year, including Typhoon Rammasun.
Despite the lower likelihood of an impact on the Philippines, interests in the region should monitor the situation for further developments.