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Saola targeting Japan again with a focus on western islands

Good afternoon from the Western Pacific Weather team.

Tropical Storm Saola is continuing to move at a decent pace north and west, and it looks like that the system is going to be of concern to those in Japan once again by this weekend. While the system is not expected to intensify into the same level as Lan, it will likely strengthen into at least a strong typhoon within a couple of days, and that will be done in just enough time to cause some problems for those in Okinawa.

The current track from the Japan Meteorological Agency has the storm moving awfully close to Okinawa with the circle of concern including the islands in the region. Should this forecast hold together, those living in the area should expect deteriorating conditions by late Friday with strong winds, high surf, and significant rainfall.

The wildcard in this current setup is a significant trough that is expected to drop out of Russia and moving through Mongolia and China. The timing of this trough is critical in the forecast. Current indications show the trough to arrive over the Korean Peninsula by Sunday. At that pace, it would not be able to move nearly quickly enough for the storm to curve out sharply to sea. If that is the case, those in south and western Japan will get the most impact from this system. This change is really dependent on the high pressure setup that is currently over China. If this high can move eastward fast enough with the influence of the developing trough, it may be enough to force Saola out to sea before impacting Japan, but the variability and uncertainty of this are still quite high. Confidence in the forecast is likely to increase Thursday as the timing of the trough’s approach can be verified.

Jonathan Oh
Meteorologist, Western Pacific Weather

20171025 0300 UTC Track

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About Jonathan Oh

Jonathan Oh is a meteorologist on Western Pacific Weather and appearing on NHK World. Jonathan has been working in the field for more than 10 years with a focus on broadcast, radar, and computer model forecasting. He is currently based in Tokyo, Japan.

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