The eighth topical storm of the season gains traction. Some forecasters predict that due to prevailing atmospheric conditions, it has the potential to gain in strength or at least not weaken until it makes landfall or higher latitudes. Estimates are that is will reach Japan by Monday.
Midnight Friday, July 15, Japan time: Typhoon Ma-on now appears to be headed onto a sharp curve that will take it even further east of Okinawa, Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station iwakuni than earlier forecast, and moving faster than expected, according to the latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track.
Ma-on is now forecast to push 315 miles east-northeast of Okinawa by 4 p.m. Monday, at which point it will still be a powerful Category IV-equivalent storm, packing 138-mph sustained winds and 167-mph gusts at its center, but those effects should be quite distant from Okinawa.
As for Sasebo, the JTWC forecasts Ma-on to skirt 230 miles to the east at about 6 p.m. Tuesday. It’s projected to miss Iwakuni 161 miles to the southeast – almost twice the distance from our previous report – and likely could miss Shikoku Island altogether.
The JTWC then forecasts Ma-on to plow along the south coast of Japan’s main Honshu island, first striking land just south of Osaka, then again skimming along the coastal cities of Hamamatsu and Shizuoka on Wednesday evening.
Even then, despite being so far north, the air and sea surface temperatures are warm enough that Ma-on will still retain Category II strength, 121-mph sustained winds and 150-mph gusts at its center.What that will mean for the Tokyo area is too soon to say – Ma-on is still five days away.
Image courtesy of Nasa