Typhoon Soudelor Eyes Taiwan With Damaging Winds, Flooding Rain; China Next in Line
By By Eric Leister, AccuWeather Meteorologist
August 09, 2015, 5:18:07 AM EDT
Powerful Typhoon Soudelor will bring both flooding rainfall and damaging winds to Taiwan as the storm remains on a collision course with the island.
Even though Soudelor has weakened, it remains a powerful typhoon and will maintain the strength of a Category 3 hurricane through landfall.
"Residents of Taiwan should prepare for a direct strike by a major typhoon," according to Accuweather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel.
The worst of the weather from Soudelor is expected Friday night and Saturday as the powerful typhoon makes landfall along the east coast of Taiwan.
Rainfall totals of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) are likely across the southern Ryukyu Islands with 125-250 mm (5-10 inches) falling over much of Taiwan, including Taipei with locally higher amounts. Across the mountainous terrain of Taiwan, more than 500 mm (20 inches) of rain is likely. This amount of rainfall can trigger mudslides and produce widespread flash flooding.
Damaging winds will also be a primary concern across Taiwan where wind gusts over 160 kph (100 mph) are expected across central and northern parts of the island. Even in the sheltered areas of northern Taiwan, including Taipei wind gusts can reach 120 kph (75 mph).
While the southern third of Taiwan will be spared the worst of the storm, winds over 85 kph (50 mph) are still expected along with some flooding downpours.
Storm surge will also result in coastal flooding along central and northern portions of Taiwan's eastern coastline including Hualien County and Yilan County.
Taking a direct path across Taiwan and its rugged terrain will cause Soudelor to weaken significantly before making a second landfall in eastern China late Saturday or Sunday; however, flooding rainfall and damaging winds are still a concern.
Flooding will be a concern from Fujian and Jiangxi provinces northward to Anhui and Jiangsu provinces this weekend into early next week. Rainfall will average 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) with more than 300 mm (12 inches) expected in parts of the coastal plain from Shantou to Taizhou.
While the strongest winds will be confined to northern Fujian Province, isolated damaging winds are still possible in parts of Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces as Soudelor moves inland and weakens further.
The center of Soudelor passed directly over the island of Saipan to the north of Guam with Category 2 hurricane-force winds on Sunday night.
Winds to near 170 kph (105 mph) were reported on Saipan as the eyewall of Soudelor passed over the island. Guam to the south was largely spared any damaging winds as gusts reached 50-65 kph (30-40 mph) for several hours.
Soudelor rapidly intensified on Monday after departing Saipan, becoming a super typhoon and reaching the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific basins. Soudelor reached peak intensity late Monday with winds near 290 kph (180 mph) making it the strongest tropical cyclone anywhere on the planet this year.
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