Tropical Storm Leepi Aims for Japan

June 20, 2013; 4:31 AM ET
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Composite Radar image of Japan late Thursday evening, June 20, 2013, showing areas of heavy rain over Shikoku and southwestern Honshu. (Credit: Japan Meteorological Agency)

Leepi has remained weak on its way north but was still forecast to soak parts of Japan through Friday.

The threat of excessive rainfall and flooding was seen to be the primary weather hazards with Leepi clipping the southern mainland of Japan on Friday. Heavy rain triggered by a cold front had already soaked the southwestern third of Japan since Tuesday.

As of Thursday, June 20, 2013, the center of Tropical Cyclone Leepi was located over the East China Sea about 800 miles southwest of Tokyo, Japan, heading north-northeastward at nearly 15 mph, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said. Bucked by unfavorable shearing winds, Leepi continued to hold highest sustained winds near 40 mph, making it barely a tropical storm.

Leepi was forecast to veer eastward before brushing southwestern Japan on Friday. Interaction with a stalled cold front over Japan was expected, the forecast result being further outbreaks of heavy rain and potential flooding over the southwestern third of the nation. Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya were among the cities having potential for heavy rainfall.

Although Leepi remained well clear of the Philippines, interaction between the storm's inflowing winds and the rugged landscape of the archipelago gave localized excessive rainfall earlier in the week. Rainfall was at Iba, western Luzon, was 9.4 inches, falling mostly on Tuesday and Wednesday, weather data accessed by AccuWeather.com showed.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 05W arose Thursday out of disturbed tropical weather west of Luzon. Depression Five was expected to track northwestwards, potentially becoming a named tropical cyclone before reaching south China by the end of the week.

The western Pacific Ocean tropical basin is normally the Earth's most prolific for tropical cyclones, so outbreaks of adverse weather such as flooding rain are a yearly occurrence. The typhoon season begins in June.

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