Tropical Depression 22W formed east of the Philippines on Monday and quickly become Tropical Storm Fitow.
Warm ocean waters along with low wind shear will allow Tropical Storm Fitow to continue to strengthen over the next several days as it tracks generally to the north and northwest.
The favorable environment will lead to Fitow becoming a typhoon by as early as Wednesday morning. Even after achieving typhoon strength Fitow will continue to strengthen and become a more dangerous storm later this week as it approaches the Ryukyu Islands, southern Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
The effects from Fitow can be life-threatening later this week for all areas impacted by the storm. Across the Ryukyu Islands, heavy rainfall and damaging winds will be possible. In southern Japan, flooding and mudslides are expected to be the greatest threats.
South Korea could be dealt a direct blow from the storm leading to flooding rainfall, damaging winds and mudslides. The current track of the storm is expected to take the center over the northern Ryukyu Islands later Friday into Saturday then lead to a final approach on South Korea Sunday into Sunday night.
High pressure north of Japan will determine how far north Fitow goes before turning northwest. A weaker high pressure will allow the storm to move farther north, resulting in a possible landfall in southern Japan, while a strong high will turn the storm quicker causing it to pass through the Ryukyu Islands and toward the Korean Peninsula.
Satellite image of Tropical Depression 22W to the east of the Philippines on Monday, courtesy of UW-CIMSS.
If the storm tracks into southern Japan, it would likely weaken as it interacts with the rugged terrain, but also bring the threat for deadly flooding and mudslides along with damaging winds near the coast.
If a track farther south unfolds, then only minimal weakening would be expected as Fitow tracks over the Ryukyu Islands and targets the Korean Peninsula and northeast China.
This would result in some flooding and mudslide threat across Japan as moisture is pulled into these areas, but the heaviest rainfall and greatest threat for flooding would be closer to the center of the storm track.
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