Guchol is now a strengthening typhoon and remains on a path that puts the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan in harm's way.
Guchol strengthened into a typhoon (the equivalent of a hurricane in the eastern Pacific or Atlantic basins) over the extremely warm waters of the Philippine Sea Thursday evening (PHT, Thursday morning EDT).
The typhoon is expected to continue intensifying through this weekend, potentially reaching the strength equal to that of a Category 2 hurricane.
This weekend, Guchol will make its closest approach to the Philippines, threatening to brush the nation's central and northern islands with its outer rain bands.
The forecast path of Guchol by the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center keeps the typhoon's strongest winds offshore. However, residents should not let their guard down.
It is not out of the question that Guchol may track farther west than currently expected and bring the danger of damaging winds to the Philippines' easternmost islands.
After leaving the Philippines, Guchol will track northward offshore of Taiwan around Monday. Taiwan should escape Guchol's outer rain bands but could still face indirect and dangerous impacts.
There is serious concern that the worst effects of Guchol in Taiwan and the Philippines will actually come as Guchol is moving away from these islands.
As Guchol tracks northward, tropical moisture feeding into its center will unleash a steady stream of torrential rain across the central and northern Philippines this weekend into early next week.
Taiwan may face a similar inundation through much of next week, which is the last thing residents want to hear after recent flooding rain.
Even though Guchol will pass east of the Philippines and Taiwan, places along the western slopes of these nations' mountains will face the greatest serious flood and mudslide threat from the heavy rain.
Japan will likely have to brace for the storm's onslaught Tuesday into Wednesday after Guchol bypasses Taiwan.
Guchol is expected to weaken as it takes aim on Japan but should still remain capable of unleashing widespread flooding rain. Damaging winds will also become a threat depending on Guchol's strength and how close it comes to land.
Making Japan even more susceptible to flooding from Guchol, according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak, is a moisture-laden storm soaking Japan Friday into this weekend.
Anyone with interests in the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan should continue to check back with the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center for the latest updates on Guchol.
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