Typhoon Maria passing north of Taiwan; bearing down on mainland China.

Typhoon Maria, after blasting across the southern Japanese Ryukyu Islands, is now moving just north of Taiwan, delivering very heavy rain to much of the island, including Taipei City. It’s next and final destination is mainland China.

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Radar animation (Images by Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan) showing west-northwest progression of Typhoon Maria between 1 pm-1:40 am local time (UTC+8) Tuesday/Wednesday. Animation generated by the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science/U. of Miami.

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, maximum sustained winds at 1500 UTC Tuesday were estimated near 120 mph, with gusts to 150 mph (~195 kph/240 kph, respectively). The system is forecast to make landfall on the mainland Chinese coast by between 3-6 UTC Wednesday (10 pm-1 am CDT Tuesday/Wednesday in the US, 11 am-2 pm Wednesday Taipei, Taiwan time).

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Maria track forecast by the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center and “cone of uncertainty” detailing potential deviations from the track.

As sea surface temperatures lower gradually approaching the Chinese coast, Typhoon Maria will continue to weaken gradually. The sea surface temperatures in Maria’ s path are mostly running near normal. However, at 81 F/27 C, it is more than warm enough to support a tropical cyclone of moderate strength.

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Current sea surface temperatures under the path of Maria.

It is expected to make landfall as a Category 2-equivalent typhoon (forecast sustained winds 100 mph/~160 kph) . Because the system will remain relatively well organized, this will continue to be a “all-hazards” event; potentially torrential rainfall, damaging wind gusts in excess of 100 mph near the large eye, significant storm surge, particularly in bays and battering waves in excess of 33 ft/10 meters on top of the surge.

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Forecast 24 hr rainfall ending at 12 UTC Wednesday by the Global Forecast System model. The mountainous terrain of northern Taiwan will be the hardest hit by torrential rainfall, but very heavy 24 hr totals are also likely along the mainland coast of China.
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GFS model forecast wind peak 1-3 hr wind gusts valid at 21 UTC Tuesday. Multiple models indicate open ocean coast will likely see gusts exceeding 110 mph/~175 kph as the center of the system bears down on the coast between after 00 UTC Wednesday.
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GFS forecast significant wave heights at 00 UTC Wednesday. The ~205 mile/330 km radius tropical storm-force wind field north of the center of Maria (winds at least 39 mph/~65 kph) will promote significant wave heights in excess of 33 ft (10 m), causing life-threatening wave action on top of the storm surge.

Potentially life-threatening risks from these hazards include injuries from falling or flying debris in the intense winds, very dangerous inland flooding from the heavy rains and storm surge flooding from the landfall of the typhoon, as well as the battering waves on top of the surge.

–Meteorologist Nick Humphrey

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Author: Meteorologist Nick Humphrey

Meteorologist and geoscientist in Lincoln, NE. Seattle, WA native. Love weather, storm chasing/photography and planetary science.

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