Similar to the Atlantic Ocean, the Western Pacific has also seen lower-than-normal tropical activity this season. Typically 26 named storms occur a year; of these, 16 usually become typhoons. This year there have been only 15 tropical depressions and even fewer named storms and typhoons.
Despite a relatively slow start, the Western Pacific is showing some signs of life. AccuWeather.com meteorologists continue to monitor an area of disturbed weather south and east of Guam that may become the 16th depression in the Western Pacific over the next few days.
This elongated area of thunderstorms is in a favorable area for development. Warm water temperatures and low wind shear make this area worth watching.
The system, which would be named Man-yi, is expected to take a track to the north and west and could bring squally weather to Guam and neighboring islands as the storm starts to strengthen. Guam typically gets a typhoon every few years, and the island is usually well prepared.
Two track scenarios will unfold by the weekend. The forecast hinges on a cold front moving through eastern Asia.
One solution involves the storm heading west toward northern Taiwan and southeast China. This would occur should the front slide by to the north and not turn the storm to the northeast.
A second scenario involves the front successfully "picking up" the cyclone and turning it northeastward. This idea would bring the potential for nasty weather to Japan by early next week.
AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak explains, "Both scenarios are currently plausible. Historical tracks of cyclones this time of year favor a scenario toward Japan, but cyclones this season have generally headed in the direction of Taiwan."
Residents from Taiwan to northern Japan all have the potential to be adversely impacted from this system.
Conditions for development are very favorable once the system moves into the Philippine Sea south of Japan. Wanenchak notes, "The water temperatures are 3-4 C above normal, and the wind shear is quite low. Both of these elements make for ideal strengthening conditions." Therefore, it is a possibility that this system could become a typhoon by the end of the week.
AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert contributed to this story.
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