Ma-on developed on July 15 to become the fifth named storm of the West Pacific typhoon season, and is currently located approximately 630 miles (1,015 kilometers) southwest of Tokyo in Japan, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). The storm has strengthened since its formation to become the second typhoon of the season. Ma-on currently packs sustained winds of around 98 mph (157 kmph), equivalent to a category 2 typhoon. The storm is expected to slowly strengthen as it moves over the Philippine Sea towards southern Japan. Ma-on is tracking north at 12 mph (19 kmph) and the JTWC currently expects the storm to skirt or hit Japan’s main island of Honshu over the next day or two. The JTWC said typhoon-force winds currently extend around 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the center of the storm while tropical storm-force winds extend around 220 miles (355 kilometers).
According to the JTWC, tropical storm-force winds are expected to start affecting parts of southern Japan in the next 12 hours. In the longer term, Ma-on is forecast to maintain its generally northerly motion, before shifting to a more northeasterly direction that is expected to see the storm skirt or make landfall along southern Honshu on July 19 and 20. The JTWC’s latest forecast indicates Ma-on will strengthen over the next 24 hours, but maintain its category 2 typhoon status, as it approaches southern Honshu. Current forecasts show the storm either hitting or skirting Chugoku Prefecture with peak sustained wind speeds of more than 100 mph (160 kmph). The Japanese Meteorological Agency has consequently issued severe weather warnings for the Kyushu, Shikoku and Tokai regions.
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Although there is significant uncertainty associated with Ma-on’s long term forecast track, the storm is currently expected to take a more easterly track after passing Chugoku Prefecture and bring tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain to Tokyo and other southern areas. Guy Carpenter will continue to closely monitor Ma-on’s progress and update this bulletin if there is significant damage to report from the storm.
Sources: Joint Typhoon Warning Center, WSI, Kyodo News
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