Typhoon Maria to threaten lives and property in Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and eastern China this week

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
July 10, 2018, 7:06:36 AM EDT

Typhoon Maria battered Japan's southern Ryukyu Islands with heavy rain and powerful winds on Tuesday. Conditions will slowly improve Tuesday night.

On Tuesday afternoon local time, Maria's eye passed directly over Japan's Miyakojima Island. The sun reportedly emerged as the eye of the cyclone passed over the island. Winds became nearly calm following 76-mph (120 km/h) gusts.

Maria is expected to once again threaten lives and property when it passes dangerously close to northern Taiwan Tuesday night and then moves into eastern China on Wednesday and Thursday.

Anyone in Maria’s path should make any last minute preparations and heed any evacuation orders.

MariaTrack 7/10

"Maria's excessive rainfall can lead to significant flooding," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said. "Mudslides are a serious concern in the higher terrain."

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After lashing the Ryukyu Islands, Maria is expected to pass by the tip of northern Taiwan on Tuesday night. While the typhoon may not make landfall on the island, it is expected to be close enough to bring significant impacts to the nation.

Rain and wind could be enough to cause significant transportation delays in Taipei and surrounding communities.

Maria impacts

Along the northern coast of Taiwan, wind gusts could reach 130-160 km/h (80-100 mph) which would cause power outages and some structural damage. While Taipei would have slightly lower wind speeds, the city may still have some wind damage and power outages.

Heavy rain will also threaten northern Taiwan with many locations expected to receive 125-250 mm (5-10 inches) of rain. Locally greater amounts are possible in the higher terrain.

Conditions across northern Taiwan will improve on Wednesday as Maria departs and approaches the coastline of eastern China.

Maria Sat View of Super Typhoon Maria from the Himawari 8 satellite on Saturday evening, local time. Image courtesy of Colorado State University.

Maria is expected to make landfall in eastern China Wednesday morning as a powerful and dangerous typhoon. Northern Fujian and southern Zhejiang provinces can bear the brunt of Maria’s fury.

Flooding rain and destructive winds can lash the eastern Chinese cities of Wenzhou, Fuzhou and Ningde. The worst of conditions will pass to the south of Shanghai.

More lives and property will be threatened where Maria’s winds drive the ocean’s water onshore near and north of where the typhoon makes landfall. Severe storm surge flooding can result, potentially around Sansha and Taizhou bays.

Those along the coast of northern Fujian and southern Zhejiang should consider moving farther inland to avoid flooding from inundating storm surge.

The strength of Maria’s winds can severely damage well-built structures. Widespread downed trees and power poles can leave the area without power for days. Some areas may become inaccessible where debris clogs roads.

Being out during the height of the storm will be extremely dangerous as flying projectiles can cause injury or death.

"Flooding rains may expand farther to the west and northwest in China Wednesday night and Thursday, even as the powerful winds start to slacken," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk said.

Areas as far inland such as northern Jiangxi, Anhui and Hubei could have flooding downpours later in the week as Maria continues to track northwestward across the interior of China.

Anyone in the path of Maria is urged to stock up on essential nonperishable food, medicine and items needed to protect your home and business from wind damage. Keep gas tanks and cans filled and cell phones fully charged.

Evacuation routes should be reviewed. Be sure to follow the advice of local government and heed any evacuation orders in the coming days.

While the name was retired in the Atlantic Ocean after the devastation Puerto Rico endured in 2017, Maria can still be used in the western Pacific Ocean as every tropical basin in the world has its own unique list.

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