Typhoon Soudelor is forecast to make landfall on the central east coast of Taiwan late Friday or early Saturday local time. Hazards include excessive rainfall and inland flooding, together with significant winds and storm surge. A second landfall in Mainland China is expected to bring heavy rain and wind over a widespread area.
Typhoon Soudelor carries winds of 110 mph (175 kilometers per hour), as of the 21 UTC advisory of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Soudelor is now equivalent to a high-end Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, and has slowly intensified in the last 12 hours. Soudelor carries a central pressure of 945 millibars according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
Hazard data in the CAT-i map above was generated from the JTWC position report and forecast. The right panel outlines the forecast track. The left panel highlights areas potentially affected by storm-force or higher winds based on the JTWC forecast track. Tropical cyclone track and intensity can change under a very short timeframe. One should closely monitor official weather and emergency management advisories for updates for their area of interest.
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Both the JTWC and JMA forecast Soudelor to continue on a west-northwesterly track, following the base of the subtropical ridge. This track will carry Soudelor to landfall at the Central East coast of Taiwan. The typhoon will then move into the Taiwan Strait before a second landfall on Mainland China, possibly near Quanzhou, before recurving to the north over the mainland. Model guidance is in close agreement on the track scenario.
Concerning intensity, Soudelor should encounter low wind shear, well-enabled outflow, and warm waters. These conditions should allow Soudelor to re-intensify prior to interaction with Taiwan. Prior to Taiwan landfall, JTWC forecast intensity for 18 UTC August 7 is 120 mph (195 kilometers per hour), equivalent to a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. As Soudelor crosses Taiwan, land interaction and terrain will cause Soudelor to weaken. After Soudelor emerges into the Taiwan Strait, for 06 UTC August 8, JTWC forecast winds are 90 mph (150 kilometers per hour), a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Soudelor will then weaken considerably after final landfall on Mainland China.
Hazards affecting Taiwan include wind, rain and surge. Moderate to severe wind damage can be expected immediately adjacent and to the right of the eyewall. Light to moderate damage can be expected over a more widespread area together with downed trees and power lines, with more severe effects in higher terrain. Excessive rainfall will be amplified by the topography of Taiwan, leading to a threat for inland flooding and perhaps mudslides. Rainfall amounts exceeding 300 millimeters are probable, with locally higher amounts. Rainfall amounts will depend very closely on the exact track and intensity of Soudelor as it affects the islands. Storm surge can also be expected, with most severe impacts to the right of the landfall position.
As Soudelor moves into Mainland China, light wind impacts can be expected over a widespread area, with more severe impacts immediately adjacent and to the right of the center of circulation. Heavy rainfall can also be expected over a widespread area, leading to inland flooding concerns. Soudelor should increase in forward speed prior to landfall on Mainland China, reducing the period of exposure to heavy rain.
Official Meteorological agencies have issued warnings for areas under threat.
Reports indicate that the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has been declared a federal disaster area after Typhoon Soudelor made landfall in Saipan on Monday. Reports indicate that the Acting Governor of the Commonwealth has estimated economic damages in Saipan and Tinian will exceed USD20 million.
Sources: Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Japan Meteorological Agency, Weather Underground, FEMA, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
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