Songda Downgraded, Could Pass Near Okinawa

May 27, 2011; 6:32 AM
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Sattelite image courtesy of the Joint Typhoon Center.

After being a super typhoon for more than a day, Songda has been downgraded to a tyhpoon as it weakened slightly Friday.

Sustained winds weakened to 145 mph, which prompted the downgrade. Winds are gusting to 170 mph.

Heavy rain and gusty wind is still affecting the northeastern coast of Luzon in the Philippines.

These areas can expect gusty winds, episodes of heavy rain and battering waves. Some flooding is to be expected, along with the potential for wind damage.

Seas with a storm of this strength are massive, and small craft are no match. Large vessels are even encouraged to avoid the area and stay out of the path of the storm.

It appears Songda will slowly curve to the north and begin to weaken over cooler waters this weekend.

Steering winds should keep the core of the storm east of Taiwan.

However, this curved path could take the storm directly over Japan's Ryukyu Islands and dangerously close to Okinawa as a formidable typhoon with winds near or over 100 mph.

A further curve to the northeast is likely later this weekend into next week, along with additional weakening.

Regardless of the exact track of the typhoon, heavy rain is a certainty.

There is a possibility that Songda will continue north and bring heavy rain to southern Japan over the weekend, with the possibility of rain lingering into early next week, including the area decimated by the tsunami and radiation release from a nuclear plant.

Keep checking back with AccuWeather.com as we continue to monitor this storm.

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