Just as Typhoon Matmo left the region of Eastern Asia and surrounding areas, Asia will now need to keep a close and watchful eye on the possibility of a developing cyclone that is currently forming in the Western Pacific Ocean. This is categorized as a large area of low lying pressure, and it is sitting several hundred miles south of Okinawa, Japan and east of the northern Philippines. This is producing widespread showers and thunderstorms, while bringing high gusty winds into the area as well.
The showers and thunderstorms that are present in the area are still disorganized around the area of low lying pressure, which prevents meteorologists and hurricane professionals from categorizing the system as a named storm at this time. The system is currently residing over an area of warm ocean water, but there is a moderate easterly wind shear that is combining with a large mass of unsettled weather, which is causing a halt in development so far.
The wind shear is projected to weaken later on in the week as this low pressure moves northwest and allows further development and strengthening as it moves towards Taiwan and the Ryuku Islands of Japan. Any residents who are currently in Taiwan through eastern China and the Islands of Japan should be very mindful of the system and monitor the potential for a cyclone as heavy rain and locally damaging winds are possible later on in the week.
The rainy and stormy conditions will begin to decline across the Ryuku Islands on Wednesday night into Thursday, and there may be some outer rain bands that may potentially reach eastern and northern Taiwan during this time as well. The region of eastern China, as well as South Korea and Japan, need to be on alert for worsening weather as there is a potential for torrential rains and strong winds on Friday into the weekend.
The current predictions are that the developing cyclone will move northwest, and it will track between Taiwan and Okinawa from Thursday into Friday, and will then move farther northwest over the weekend. The future intensity of this cyclone is still unclear because of the amount of wind shear it will endure along the northwest track, and even though the intensity is unpredictable, heavy rain and flooding will most likely occur regardless.
Tropical Storm Halong is also another point of concern as the system begins to strengthen over to the east of Guam. There is a north to northwest track that this storm is following, and it will definitely dump heavy rain and strong winds to Guam on Tuesday night, Wednesday, and Wednesday night (local time).
The rainfall totals are predicted at about four to eight inches right now, with locally higher amounts possible. This could lead to flooding in Guam and the surrounding areas of the Mariana Islands to the north. Winds of over 70 mph are expected, and could possibly cause power outages and structural damage. This system is expected to continue to grow and strengthen as the storm makes its way northwestward, and it is possible that this storm could reach typhoon status before moving through the Mariana Islands just north of Guam.
In the long term, this cyclone may or may not target Japan with another round of heavy rain, as well as damaging winds into the next week. This cyclone will begin to track northward late this week and early into next week, which means the potential for quick strengthening and Halong could become very dangerous and powerful prior to reaching Japan.