Central Pacific Hurricane Crosses International Date Line

Things continue to be active in the Pacific, especially in the Eastern and Central basins.  We now have four tropical systems from the West Coast of Mexico to beyond the International Date Line.  First, in the Eastern Pacific, the 11th named storm of the season formed as Kevin emerged within the past 24 hours.  Meanwhile, in the Central Pacific, Hurricane Kilo, which had been one of three Category Four Hurricanes in the Pacific earlier this week, crossed the International Date Line, and, as a result, became a Typhoon.

Although it is rare, hurricanes that form in the Eastern and Central Pacific have traveled far enough over the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean to cross the International Date Line, and become a typhoon, which is the name given to tropical systems in the Western Pacific.  The most memorable example was Hurricane/Typhoon John in 1994.  The storm began in the Eastern Pacific, and spent some 31 days, an entire month traversing the Pacific Ocean.  While Kilo’s feat is quite impressive, and will probably make it the longest lasting tropical cyclone this year, it will likely fall about a week short of John’s mark.

As of Wednesday, Kilo had weakened to a strong Category One Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with 85 mile per hour winds.  The much cooler waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands in the Central Pacific took the starch out of Kilo, which had been a major hurricane over the weekend.  However, as Kilo heads into the high octane warm waters of the Western Pacific, the storm is forecast to undergo a major rejuvenation, and return to Category Four strength and become a Super Typhoon.  Some model forecasts indicate that Kilo could become a threat to Japan by next weekend according to an article written by the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.

On Tuesday, satellite imagery depicted the western half of Kilo in the Western Pacific, and classified as a typhoon on September 2nd while the eastern half was still on September 1st and a hurricane.  Looking at the future of Kilo, the GFS produced a scenario where Kilo will pass through Japan into the North Pacific by September 15th, and then move into Alaska, where it become a powerful extratropical system that will create a dip in the jet stream, and push eastward into the continental United States.  The Western Pacific has been active as well as the Eastern and Central Pacific this year as a result of the El Nino.

The WESTPAC has seen more than its fare share of typhoons including Souledor recently, which created havoc in Taiwan including tornadoes.  Meanwhile, Typhoon Goni lashed portions of Japan with fierce winds.  Sometimes, these typhoons recurve much like hurricanes that come up the East Coast of the United States.  As they recurve, they gain new life as an extratropical system that can pull down the jet stream and much colder air from the arctic and Alaska.  There were a couple of occasions this past winter when typhoons in the West Pacific recurved into the North Pacific, and spawned a “polar vortex” episode for the Continental United States.