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Saola heading for Okinawa, direct hit becoming increasingly likely

Good afternoon from the Western Pacific Weather team.

As the computer models become increasingly certain that a trough from Russia will not be able to force a significant turn until Sunday, Okinawa and the surrounding islands need to brace for the possibility of a direct hit. Saola is beginning to gather itself and will likely become a severe tropical storm within the next 24 hours. The Japan Meteorological Agency has placed the southwestern islands of Japan under its Storm Warning Area classification as conditions are expected to deteriorate starting late Friday.

While it is quite possible that we could see an earlier turn for the storm, for the moment, it seems more likely that this system will hit Okinawa as a strong typhoon, bringing sustained winds of up to 65 knots. This is the time for those on the islands to make preparations for this storm. Make sure to have supplies needed while staying indoors from Friday through Monday. Begin to secure all outdoor objects, including trash cans, trampolines (there have been many cases where these were seen flying through the air in the region), and any other items that can be carried in the strong winds.

Saola is moving at a slower pace at the moment, and that could make things worse in terms of heavy rainfall, storm surge, and significant damaging winds. This storm is taking a much more direct path into Okinawa compared to its predecessor, Typhoon Lan.

With this development, those further north and west should also be aware of the possibility of direct impact in western Japan. There is a likelihood that eastern and central Japan, while dealing with a significant amount of rain, will not see nearly as bad of a scenario in terms of strong winds because of the interaction of the mountains out to the west. However, those in the Kinki and Tokai regions, who have been horribly battered by Lan, will need to be aware of significant landslide and flooding risks. The area has not yet had full recovery time from the previous storm, which will bring concerns for this coming weekend and the first part of next week.

By late Tuesday, Saola should clear Japan, and weather should improve across Japan.

Jonathan Oh
Meteorologist, Western Pacific Weather

20171026 Thursday 00 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.

One Response to “Saola heading for Okinawa, direct hit becoming increasingly likely”

  1. Thanks Jonathan. Always appreciate your insight.

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