The first tropical depression of the northwestern Pacific Ocean 2018 tropical cyclone season didn't waste any time forming after the first of the new year. Tropical Depression 1W formed just west of the Philippines in the Sulu Sea as NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead early on Jan. 2, 2018.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard Terra provided a visible-light image of the depression on Jan. 2, 2018. The image showed strong thunderstorm development northwest of the center. Animated infrared imagery also showed flaring convection confined to the northwest of the low level circulation center.
At 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) on Jan. 2, 2018, Tropical Depression 01w (01W) was located approximately 335 nautical miles south-southwest of Manila, Philippines, near 9.5 degrees north latitude and 118.0 degrees east longitude. 01W was moving to the west at 20.7 mph (18 knots/33.3 kph) and had maximum sustained winds near 34.5 mph (30 knots /55.5 kph).
01W is forecast to reach the South China Sea by Jan. 3. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center expects the depression to strengthen to a tropical storm and cross the South China Sea where it will make a final landfall in Vietnam.