Jelawat formed as a tropical depression over the western Pacific Ocean on September 20, 2012, and became a tropical storm the next day. It strengthened to a typhoon on September 23, and then underwent explosive intensification, almost doubling in strength within 12 hours. On September 24, 2012, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that Jelawat was located about 470 miles (760 kilometers) east of Manila in the Philippines. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and gusts up to 184 mph (295 km/h).
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on September 24, showing Jelawat just east of the Philippines. Sporting a distinct eye and spiral arms characteristic of strong storms, Jelawat spanned hundreds of kilometers.
As of September 25, the Japan Meteorological Agency forecast slight intensification over the next 24 hours, and then slow weakening as Jelawat travels to the north-northeast, skirting Taiwan before moving away from land. Because the typhoon will remain over favorable ocean temperatures in an area with little wind shear, Jelawat should maintain its super typhoon status (a typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph or higher) for another day or two.