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Tropical Depression 16W has formed a couple hundred miles south of Iwo To, with intensity currently at 25kts. The depression has sustained, deep convection over the LLC, but no signs of banding at present. This indicates that 16W is in it's formative stages and may take a while to become a tropical storm. Conditions are favourable for development however, with low shear and warm sea temperatures which should allow at least some gradual intensification. 16W is currently moving westwards along the southern periphery of a low level ridge to the north, but the depression is expected to turn towards the north over the next day or so as a trough forces a weakness to occur in the ridge. It is unclear as yet just where (if at all) 16W will affect land.

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16W has remained a 25kt tropical depression today. Moderate shear and dry air have prevented the depression from intensifying. However, as the upper level low responsible for the hostile conditions moves away, 16W should begin to strengthen in the very warm waters on the westerly track. Track forecast from JTWC is still similar, with the westwards track expected to continue for the next 48hrs until a trough breaks down the ridge to the north resulting in a northward heading.

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After spending almost 3 days as a 25kt tropical depression (how different from Cyclone Giri!), 16W has finally become a 35kt tropical storm named Chaba. Chaba has entered a more favourable environment with relaxed shear and improving outflow. Convectional banding has much improved, as has the depth and coverage of the main convective canopy. This puts Chaba in a better position to take advantage of the good conditions, and thus strengthening is forecast. Chaba will likely become a typhoon in the next day or so. Track forecast still remains largely the same, with a turn to the north expected to occur later tomorrow as an advancing trough creates a weakeness in the subtropical ridge to the north, for Chaba to turn into. In a few days time, this northward motion will take Chaba into cooler waters and higher shear, which will induce some weakening, and thereafter, extratropical transition.

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Chaba has continued to strengthen, and intensity is now 55kts. Chaba should become a typhoon later today as the track shifts to a northerly direction. Spiral banding flanks the LLC which has some expanding, persistant convection located over it- and an eye may emerge later. Chaba could become a cat 2/3 before starting extratropical transition as the northerly motion takes the storm over colder waters and elevated shear.

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Chaba has intensified further since this morning, with intensity increasing to 65kts, making Chaba a category 1 typhoon. Intense convection with very cold cloud tops persist over the tightly wound LLC, but there is not a well defined eye as yet. With low shear, warm sea temps, and good outflow in a poleward and equatorward direction, Chaba could intensify rapidly over the next 24hrs and has a chance to make cat 3 status before cooler waters and increasing shear take their toll on the typhoon.

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Typhoon Chaba has intensified further to 75kts. The typhoon continues to head northwestwards but should turn north soon. On this track, the islands of Kadena are at risk of typhoon strength winds and flooding rains, and later Japan is at risk of being brushed by Chaba at it's extratropical phase which could enhance rains and cause gale force winds. In the immediate future, Chaba should continue to strengthen over warm waters and favourable upper level winds. Chaba should be weakening as it nears Kadena, but it could still cause damage here.

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A strong poleward outflow channel has resulted in some faster intensification of Chaba this evening. Intensity has risen to 90kts, making Chaba a cat 2. A well defined eye is, for the first time, visable within the central dense overcast. JTWC call for a peak of 115kts before weakening begins- Chaba could go a little higher than that if it manages to make this rapid intensification burst last a little longer.

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Chaba maintains a well defined eye and has intensified to 110kts. Dual outflow channels continue to support intensification, despite the fact that Chaba is nearing a belt of high shear. The outflow channels could allow Chaba to become a cat 4 in the next 12 hours before shear elevates and causes a gradual weakening beyond this time. Chaba is still forecast to hit Japan as an extratropical storm.

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Intensity has remained at 110kts (cat 3) for the latest advisory but going by that last image you posted Cookie, I still think Chaba might have a shot at cat 4 status before the weakening begins later tomorrow.

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Chaba did attain cat 4 status this morning with intensity peaking at 115kts, making Chaba the second strongest storm of the season so far. Weakening has commenced however, as shear is increasing and the sea temps are falling. The eye is cloud obscured and the central dense overcast is becoming much smaller as it gets eroded by shear. Expect some fast weakening from this point forward, with extratropical transition to beginning very soon as the typhoon accelerates to the northeast.

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Chaba has raced northeastwards since I last posted, and has been undergoing extratropical transition (ET). Convection has decreased over the last day, and Chaba's windfield has expanded, indicative of ET. Intensity has fallen to 60kts this morning, but Chaba is very close to southeastern Japan where severe gales are possible today. The extratropical storm will head eastwards out into the open North Pacific and continue to weaken.

JTWC have just issued the last advisory on Chaba, declaring it extratropical.

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