Jim Andrews

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Prapiroon to Make Its Move

October 16, 2012; 7:12 AM ET

Tropical Storm Prapiroon is about to end its standoff south of Japan.

The long-lived, slow-moving tropical cyclone will accelerate towards the north and east, skirting Japan and reaching the open North Pacific Ocean late in the week.

Along the way, Prapiroon will brush Okinawa and nearby Ryukyu Islands at midweek, stirring up gusty winds and rain.

Meanwhile, rain not directly related to Prapiroon, some heavy, will spread eastward over southern and central Japan.

As for Prapiroon itself, the bulk of its windswept, heavy rain will spread eastward south of the Japan mainland on Thursday and Friday. Coastal areas from Kyushu to eastern Honshu, near Tokyo, will be most susceptible to any adverse weather reaching the mainland.

Located west of the Mariana Islands, Prapiroon began life as a tropical depression on Oct. 5, then it was upgraded to named tropical storm on Oct. 7.

Storm intensity peaked at Category 2 typhoon status, as defined by the Japan Meteorological Agency, on Oct. 11. At the time, the storm drifted slowly over the open Philippines Sea.

Monday, as Prapiroon's strength waned, high pressure stalled its progress southeast of Okinawa.

As of Tuesday, Prapiroon, now only a tropical storm, had top sustained winds of 70 mph, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said. It was centered about 325 miles southeast of Naha, Okinawa, Japan, or 1,100 miles southwest of Tokyo. Movement was slow and to the west.

Tropical storms Maria (right) and Prapiroon, as of 1300 UTC Oct. 16, 2012. (Japan Meteorological Agency -- JMA)

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Maria, smaller and shorter-lived storm, was located almost 600 miles south of Tokyo as of Tuesday.

Maria had been buffeting the Volcano and Bonin islands, but it was on track to veer well east of mainland Japan Wednesday and Thursday.

Gales and wind gusts as high as 70 mph were clocked at Iwo Jima, one of the Volcano Islands.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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