TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Since Mangkhut reached super typhoon status yesterday afternoon, it has continued to strengthen as is appears to be headed toward the Bashi Channel and looks to be headed for the northern Philippine Island of Luzon, but its periphery is expected to impact Taiwan by this weekend.
Yesterday at 2 p.m., the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) declared Mangkhut a category 4 super typhoon and it is believed it could soon develop into a category 5 typhoon. NASA and the National Weather Service said that the eye of the storm is very clear and has grown to 48 kilometers in diameter and reported maximum sustained winds of 249 kilometers per hour.
Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau (CWB) at 2 a.m. this morning reported Mangkhut to be located 1,990 kilometers southeast of Taiwan's Eluanbi and moving west at 21 kilometers per hour. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 198 kilometers per hour with wind gusts of up to 244 kilometers per hour, according to CWB data.
NASA says that Super Typhoon Mangkhut's path has shifted from a westerly direction to a northwesterly trajectory and is expected to approach the northern Philippine island of Luzon on Friday evening. According to the latest model by the JTWC, Mangkhut will affect Taiwan from Sept. 15 to Sept. 16 (Saturday and Sunday), while the Weather Channel also predicts that the super typhoon will affect Taiwan.
Weather expert Daniel Wu (吳德榮) said that the intensity of Super Typhoon Mangkhut will continue to increase and that it is the "strongest storm on the Earth's surface at this time." Wu said that Mangkhut is even more powerful than its predecessor Typhoon Jebi, which devastated Japan.
Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting System (ATCF) forecast. (Image from metoc.navy.mil)
Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau (CWB) is planning on issuing a sea warning on Friday, and forecasts showers or thunderstorms in eastern Taiwan and the Hengchun Peninsula beginning late Friday and lasting until Sunday, due to the effects of the typhoon's periphery. However, the CWB pointed out that the super typhoon's predicted track is still uncertain, and it still does not rule out the possibility of Mangkhut deviating north or south.
As for the weather over the coming days before Mangkhut's arrival, CWB forecaster Cheng Chuan-fang (程川芳) said that skies will range from partly cloudy to sunny with only eastern Taiwan and mountainous areas in northern Taiwan likely to see scattered showers. Today, western Taiwan will see highs range between 34 and 35 degrees Celsius, while eastern Taiwan will see a high of 32 degrees.
Japan Meteorological Agency model of Mangkhut's predicted path.
Cheng said the good weather will continue until Friday afternoon (Sept. 14), when Mangkhut starts to make its presence felt. On Friday, when Mangkhut starts moving through the Bashi Channel, eastern Taiwan will start to see brief showers, and by Saturday, southeastern Taiwan and the Hengchun Peninsula will see significant rainfall, while other areas of Taiwan may also see brief showers
WFO Guam model of Mangkhut's predicted path.
CWB map of Super Typhoon Mangkhut's predicted path.
CWB satellite image showing Super Typhoon Mangkhut's current position.
NASA image of Super Typhoon Mangkhut.