TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- There is a 70 percent chance that Tropical Storm Lekima will strike Taiwan by the end of the week and will come closest to the country on Thursday and Friday (Aug. 8 and 9), based on multiple weather agency models.
Wu Der-rong (吳德榮), an adjunct associate professor of atmospheric sciences at National Central University, said today (Aug. 5) that the latest model from the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) shows that Tropical Storm Francisco is rapidly moving west-northwest as it is guided by a low-pressure circulation and high-pressure ridge. Wu predicted that it would pass through Kyushu on Aug. 6 and impact South Korea on Aug. 7.
Wu said that Lekima, which became a tropical storm to the east of the Philippines on Sunday (Aug. 4), will continue to strengthen. Due to the development of another tropical disturbance to the east, the guiding airflow will weaken, and in the future, it will move northwest at a slower speed.
CWB satellite map.
Models from various weather agencies show a wide range of uncertainty about Lekima's path, but there is a 70 percent probability that it will impact Taiwan. The latest European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model shows that Lekima could take widely divergent paths, but models showing the storm impacting Taiwan have increased.
In many models, the likelihood that Tropical Lekima will impact Taiwan has increased, but more observation is needed to make certain that it will make a direct strike on the island. Wu said that easterly winds will carry moisture to Taiwan today and Tuesday (Aug. 6), bringing localized showers to eastern Taiwan, the windward side, and the Hengchun Penninsula.
During this period, the weather will be unstable and localized thunderstorms are likely in the afternoon in western Taiwan and mountainous areas south of Taoyuan. Wu predicts that Lekima will likely come closest to Taiwan sometime between Thursday and Friday (Aug. 8 and 9).
CWB satellite map.
Temperatures today will range between 25 to 36 degrees Celsius in northern Taiwan, 25 to 35 degrees in central Taiwan, 25 to 35 degrees in southern Taiwan, and 24 to 36 degrees in eastern Taiwan. Wu said that by Wednesday (Aug. 7), the periphery of Lekima will bring localized showers to northern and eastern Taiwan, while central and southern Taiwan will see thunderstorms in the afternoon.
As to whether Lekima will strike Taiwan, WeatherRisk Explore Inc. President Peng Chi-ming (彭啟明) said on Facebook today that it will not be clear until the storm moves out of a monsoon depression and into a Pacific high-pressure circulation. In the latest models, the storm has a clear westward trend, meaning that the likelihood that it will strike Taiwan is increasing, according to Peng.
Peng said that Lekima's path will become more clear on Tuesday when there is more consistency and stability as the intensity level of a high-pressure system can be more accurately measured. Because Lekima is located in an environment with more moisture, it will linger longer, said Peng.
CWB map of Lekima's predicted path.
Lightning and thunder within Lekima's circulation belt are quite intense, showing that development conditions are quite favorable, said Peng. He ominously warned that this tropical storm will not be small or weak, and it should not be taken lightly.
CWB map showing predicted paths of Francisco and Lekima.
Map from Facebook page @weatherrisk.
Japan Meteorological Agency map of Lekima's projected path.
Multiple models showing predictions for Lekima and Francisco. (Map from Facebook page @weatherrisk)
Image from Peng Chi-ming Facebook page.
NOAA animated satellite map.