The tropics are heating up across the Pacific Basin with three areas of concern being monitored. Two organized systems have developed, and a third could be on the way this weekend.
Most of the Pacific has been void of organized tropical systems so far this month, but that will change as February gives way to March.
Tropical development occurred Friday, local time, with two systems gaining tropical characteristics. Tropical Storm Faxai (03W) formed southeast of Guam while Tropical Cyclone 16P originated near Fiji. Strong winds over 50 mph and heavy rain affected Fiji. But, conditions improved Sunday local time.
A tropical low spinning southeast of Guam developed into a tropical depression Friday, local time, and strengthened into a tropical storm early Saturday morning.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists anticipate the low to track just east of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands late Sunday and Monday local time.
All the ingredients are in place for Faxai to continue strengthening. It is not out of the question that the low becomes a minimal typhoon, the first of 2014 for the western Pacific and with strength equal to that of a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin.
The worst impacts across Guam and the Mariana Islands will be later Sunday through Monday with wind gusts over 50 mph and heavy rain.
"Guam will receive 125-250 mm (5-10 inches) of rain through early next week with the potential for more," stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak.
That amount of rain is sure to trigger flash flooding and mudslides in the higher elevations.
"The danger of coastal flooding along the eastern beaches will also increase through the weekend ahead of the low's arrival as persistent northeasterly winds howl and drive the ocean's water onshore," Wanenchak continued.
The severity of the damaging winds across the islands early next week will depend on the exact peak strength of the low.
Anyone with interests in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands should continue to monitor the progress of this strengthening tropical low.
The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center is also keeping a close eye on Tropical Cyclone Kofi, moving away from Fiji, but approaching Tonga.
This cyclone, with its strength equal to that of a tropical storm, is expected to accelerate as it approach Tonga Sunday. It has strengthened as well, currently possessing 50 mph winds. But, it should stay below hurricane-strength. It will eventually dissipate in the open waters of the South Pacific.
Tonga will be under the gun for wind gusts past 60 mph and very heavy rain Sunday and Sunday night lcoal time.
This weekend is also when another tropical cyclone may begin forming south of the Solomon Islands.
Latest indications point toward this future tropical cyclone dropping southward through the Coral Sea next week and possibly becoming stronger than the low currently near Fiji.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists will be closely monitoring this area for potential impacts on eastern Australia later next week or the following weekend. Heavy rain and gusty winds may become a concern for northeast Queensland.
AccuWeather.com meteorologist Dan DePodwin and Dave Samuhel contributed to this report.
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