Coastal Flood Advisory

AccuWeather 2019 Asia spring forecast

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 21, 2019, 2:04:29 PM EST

The storm track that was active during the winter from the eastern Mediterranean to the Middle East to part of eastern Asia will continue well into the spring.

Meanwhile, there will be at least one area of concern for direct tropical impacts in a heavily populated area of the Indian Ocean.

Asia Spring Forecast map 2019 v 2

Frequent storms to continue into early spring

“Several rounds of rain and mountain snow will extend from Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and northern Israel to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, Nepal and southwestern China,” according to AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

“In advance of these storms, strong winds can lead to blowing sand and dust on occasion across southern Iraq, Kuwait and northern and central Saudi Arabia,” Nicholls said.

A couple of the more robust storms can bring locally heavy precipitation.

Storm Cyprus Feb. 7, 2019 Larnaca

Rough seas batter the shoreline amid rain and chilly conditions in the southern coastal city of Larnaca in the southeast Mediterranean island of Cyprus, on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. Multiple storms affected areas from the eastern Mediterranean to part of the Middle East during the winter of 2018-19. (AP Photo / Petros Karadjias)

Where heavy snow falls in the mountains from one storm and the next storm brings a warmup with rain, the risk of flash flooding and mudslides will exist.

Fronts from these storms can extend as far south as southern Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and parts of Yemen,” Nicholls said.

Mainly early in the spring, the fronts will bring occasional rain showers. There may also be a few strong thunderstorms associated with the fronts.

However, severe weather and tornadoes which occurred in New Delhi in early February are extremely rare and not likely to be repeated on a widespread scale during the spring.

The active storm track will continue across south-central and southeastern China to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

Similar to the Middle East, the more robust storms can bring locally heavy precipitation, including the risk of flooding.

Early-season snow to favor eastern Asia, southwestern Russia

“The storms will meet up with cold shots of air in northern Japan and Manchuria on occasion,” Nicholls said. “As this happens, rounds of snow are in store.”

Early in the spring, the cold blasts are likely to cause locally heavy sea-effect snow in western Hokkaido, Japan.

“Cold shots of air in northeastern China, including Beijing, and the Koreas are forecast for the spring, especially early on, but much of northern and eastern China to the Koreas and Japan are likely to finish the season with above-average temperatures,” Nicholls said.

AP Snow Beijing Feb. 12, 2019

A policeman takes a photo of his colleague against Tiananmen Gate as snow falls in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. China's capital is mostly dry in the winter but a storm system brought snow to the city on Tuesday morning. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Cold blasts and snow will continue from Ukraine and the Volga Valley to Kazakhstan to start off the spring.

“The cold conditions with snow are likely to lead to delays in winter grains coming out of dormancy and may lead to minor delays in the onset of spring and early summer crop planting,” Nicholls said.

Outside of the influence of tropical storms, areas in Southeast Asia south of the storm track can expect scattered rains this spring that will generally lead to below-average rainfall.

“Indonesia and Malaysia are likely to have frequent enough showers and thunderstorms to bring rainfall close to average,” Nicholls said.

Heat may get later start in parts of northern India, Pakistan

In northern India and part of Pakistan, storms from the winter, especially in February, brought significant moisture to the soil.

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“Heat is less likely to be severe in the region, including in New Delhi, due to damp soil conditions during the first part of the spring,” Nicholls said. “However, there can still be rounds of extreme heat in these areas later in the spring as the soil dries out.”

Prior to the arrival of the southwest monsoon, rainfall is likely to be lower than average across central and southern India and may lead to a quick surge in heat.

Rainfall is predicted to be near average over Sri Lanka with more typical temperatures for the spring.

Tropical threats greatest along Bay of Bengal, Pacific islands

There is the risk of tropical activity in the western Pacific, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea this spring, mainly later in the season.

“In the Pacific, the greatest threat of tropical development and direct impact is from Guam to the Marshall Islands and the Mariana Islands," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty.

"There is a chance one or two tropical storms reach the Philippines from the western Pacific, but significant activity over the South China Sea and direct impact from the western part of the Philippines to Vietnam and southeastern China seems unlikely during the spring," Douty said.

However, there is the likelihood of Pacific storms heading farther west during the summer and autumn.

In the Indian Ocean, there is concern for direct impact from depressions in the Bay of Bengal prior to the monsoon.

India Cyclone Oct. 11, 2018

An Indian man tries to hold his umbrella during strong winds and rain caused by cyclonic storm named Titli, or Butterfly near Gopalpur on the Bay of Bengal coast, Ganjam district, eastern Orissa state, India, Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. Authorities moved nearly 300,000 people to higher ground. (AP Photo)

“The greatest threats from these tropical storms will be from eastern India to Bangladesh and perhaps Myanmar,” Nicholls said.

While a tropical low or depression cannot be ruled out in the Arabian Sea, the threat to adjacent land areas is minimal at this time.

Early outlook on the western Pacific typhoon season

AccuWeather meteorologists are projecting close to the average number of tropical storms, typhoons and super typhoons for the balance of 2019.

2019 West Pacific Tropical Outlook February

"While El Niño conditions are in store during this spring, we expect the pattern to trend toward neutral conditions later this summer and fall," AccuWeather Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

El Niño is the warm part of a fluctuation in water temperatures over the central and eastern part of the tropical Pacific Ocean.

"We expect water temperatures in the prime typhoon development zone to remain cooler than average to start the season then recover to near or perhaps above average later in the season," Kottlowski said.

The anticipated changing conditions over the summer and autumn would translate to tropical development over a broad part of the basin, but also an increase in wind shear as the season progresses.

Wind shear is the rapid increase in wind speed or change in wind direction with increasing altitude and/or a horizontal distance. Strong wind shear can prevent formation of tropical storms or cause strong typhoons to weaken.

Based on these factors, average numbers of tropical storms and typhoons are forecast in 2019.

"There is the possibility that once El Niño develops, it may linger or get stronger as the summer progresses," Kottlowski said. "If that happens, there would be less shear and the potential for a higher numbers of storms and typhoons."

AccuWeather's long-range, tropical and international teams of meteorologists expect somewhat different steering winds this year as opposed to last year.

"We expect a greater number of tropical storms and typhoons to take a more westerly track into Vietnam and China during the summer and autumn, as opposed to large numbers curving toward Japan and the Koreas this year," Kottlowski said.

During 2018, Japan was slammed by multiple typhoons and tropical storms, while several others passed close by to the islands.

"During 2019, Japan should have a significantly lower number of direct impacts from these storms, while Vietnam should have multiple such impacts when compared to 2018," Kottlowski said. "However, impacts in China may be somewhat similar to that of 2018."

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