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Lekima Moving Through Eastern China With Gusty Winds, Heavy Rainfall; Krosa May Approach Japan as a Typhoon Next Week
Published: August 10, 2019
Tropical Storm Lekima is moving through eastern China with gusty winds and torrential rainfall. Another tropical storm will threaten Japan by midweek.
Lekima is currently centered about 40 miles northwest of Shanghai, China, and is heading north. Lekima made landfall in eastern China in Chengnan Town, Wenling in southeastern Zhejiang province around 1:45 a.m. Saturday morning, local time, as a typhoon with sustained winds of around 100 mph, making it equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane.
(LATEST: Lekima's Destruction
After rapidly intensifying Tuesday into Wednesday, Lekima became a super typhoon (winds 150 mph or greater) for a short time late Thursday into early Friday, local time. Lekima has since weakened to a tropical storm.
This weekend, Lekima will continue to weaken as it curls northward through parts of eastern China, including near Shanghai.
Strong winds, heavy rainfall and flooding are likely across portions of eastern China this weekend.
Shipu, China, recorded a gust to 92 mph on Saturday and more than 5 inches of rainfall Friday through Saturday. Shanghai has measured more than 5 inches of rainfall, as of early Sunday. More than 10 inches of rain has fallen in eastern China south and east of Shanghai.
Tropical storm warnings and heavy rainfall warnings remain in effect for some eastern provinces of China, including in Shanghai.
Heavy rain could trigger flooding in eastern China, possibly including Shanghai and Beijing and the provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui, Shandong, eastern Hebei, Tianjin and southwestern Liaoning.
More than 1,000 miles to the southeast of Lekima is Typhoon Krosa which now has winds equivalent in strength to a tropical storm.
Krosa is weakening by its relatively slow motion, which cools water down in a process called upwelling. Conditions will likely remain generally unfavorable for additional development and gradual weakening is anticipated over the next few days until the system can begin moving again.
Krosa is forecast to drift near Iwo Jima and the Ogasawara Islands this weekend but will otherwise remain over the open waters of the Western Pacific for the next five days. Extended periods of gusty winds and heavy rainfall are expected in the Ogasawara Islands.
Krosa may strengthen again by midweek and approach mainland Japan next week possibly as a typhoon, but the forecast this far out in time is highly uncertain.
Recap: Francisco Strikes Japan as a Typhoon
Francisco made landfall in southern Japan as typhoon Tuesday morning local time, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
Typhoon Lekima Wobbles Through The Ryukyu Islands
Winds gusted as high as 46.6 m/s or 104 mph at Miyako Shimojishima Airport and sustained typhoon force winds (33.5 m/s or 75 mph) were reported in Miyako. Miyakojima measured more than 280 millimeters or 11 inches of rainfall, while Ishigaki has received more than 200 mm or around 8 inches of rainfall so far.
Typical of intense tropical cyclones, the eye of Lekima wobbled as it tracked through the Ryukyu Islands, passing near the islands of Tarama and Minna, about 200 miles east-southeast of Taipei, Taiwan.
Rainfall totals of more than 450 mm or 18 inches have already been reported late Wednesday through early Saturday in parts of northern Taiwan.
A Quiet Typhoon Season Before This Week
This year had been uncommonly calm for typhoon activity through Aug. 4 in the Northwest Pacific, which is normally the most active region on Earth for tropical cyclones. The only typhoon recorded in 2019 through Aug. 4 was Wutip, the first Category 5 super typhoon on record in February. Wutip passed south of Guam and Micronesia as a Category 4 storm, producing more than $3 million in damage.
Japan is accustomed to typhoons. In a typical year, three typhoons strike Japan, according to data from the Japan Meteorological Agency analyzed by nippon.com. Landfalls are most common in August, but the most destructive typhoons tend to be in September.
Since 1950, no other year had gone from Feb. 28 to Aug. 4 without any typhoons, as noted by Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University. Francisco put an end to that streak when it became a typhoon on Aug. 5.
In a typical season (1981-2010), the Northwest Pacific sees about eight named storms and five typhoons by Aug. 2. This year had brought just five named storms and one typhoon by that date.
The amount of accumulated cyclone energy in the Northwest Pacific – which is calculated based on how strong tropical cyclones get and how long they last – was only a little over half of average for the year as of Aug. 2, according to data compiled by Colorado State University.
So, what's the difference between this quiet period and now?
At least one factor that may be having its hand on the "on" switch for the west Pacific is the Madden-Julian Oscillation.
The MJO is essentially a wave of increased storminess, clouds and pressure that moves eastward around the globe once every 40 days or so.
In the tropics, the MJO is known to kick up or assist in tropical cyclone development.
A robust MJO wave is now moving through eastern Asia and the western Pacific, and likely helped the recent tropical cyclone outbreak fester.
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