Slow-moving Typhoon Prapiroon could target the Japan mainland, but not before next week.
A direct strike would bring the potential for damaging winds and flooding rain. Even a near miss could lead to excessive rainfall.
Wednesday, the center of Typhoon Prapiroon was over open water in the Philippine Sea, about 650 miles east-northeast of Manila, Philippines, or some 1,300 miles south-southwest of Tokyo.
Highest sustained winds were pegged at about 105 mph by Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).
Storm movement was towards the west-northwest at about 8 mph, but the storm was forecast to slow its forward speed to less than 5 mph. Further strengthening was forecast by the JTWC and other regional forecast agencies.
Along with the slow forward motion, forecast indicators also have pointed to a "recurving" path, veering from a northwesterly heading, to one aimed northwards and even northeastwards.
However, the presence of weak steering winds injects uncertainty into the picture, including the possibility of significant deviation in direction.
While the simplest outcome would be for the tropical cyclone to accelerate northeastward south of Japan, following recurvature, light steering winds will allow Prapiroon to linger south of Japan. This will afford a greater chance for a turn towards a Japan landfall near the middle of next week.
Typhoon Prapiroon was centered east of northern Luzon, Philippines, at the time of this satellite shot, taken 15:30 UTC Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 (Japan Meteorological Agency--JMA).
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