Typhoon Vongfong nears Philippines, will come closest to Taiwan Sunday

1st typhoon of year poised to strike Philippines, bring rain to Taiwan over weekend

Typhoon Vongfong. (NOAA animated GIF)

Typhoon Vongfong. (NOAA animated GIF)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A tropical storm that intensified into the first typhoon of the year on Wednesday (May 13) is poised to strike the Philippines and is predicted to come closest to Taiwan on Sunday (May 17).

As of 2 a.m. this morning (May 14), Typhoon Vongfong (黃蜂, wasp) was located 1,290 kilometers southeast of Taiwan's southernmost tip of Eluanbi and moving west-northwest at a speed of 12 kilometers per hour, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB). The storm has a radius of 150 kilometers and is packing maximum sustained winds of 144 kph with gusts up to 180 kph.

The CWB predicts that the periphery of the storm will affect Taiwan on Saturday and Sunday (May 16 and 17), when it will bring brief showers or thunderstorms to the island's east and south. Other regions will see increased cloud cover with afternoon thunderstorms in mountainous areas of northern and central Taiwan.

(Weather Risk map)

As for the Philipines, The Weather Channel reports that Vongfong, locally referred to as "Ambo," is located southeast of the Bicol region. The website warned that the storm could bring flooding, landslides, and damaging winds to the country.

This evening, the typhoon is predicted to pass along or near the Bicol Peninsula with an intensity equivalent to a Category 3 or 4 hurricane. It is then forecast to swing northwest before heading northward, either passing near or over Luzon island Friday evening (May 15) through Saturday (May 16).

Chia Hsin-hsing (賈新興), a Weather Risk supervisor, said that because of the long period of time Vongfong will likely track over land, its intensity is expected to weaken by the time it reaches the Bashi Channel, possibly reverting to a tropical storm or tropical depression. Chia predicted that by Sunday (May 17), Taitung County and the Hengchun Peninsula will probably see significant rainfall.

(CWB map)

Because the future path of the storm is still uncertain, the CWB advised the public to stay tuned to its regular weather updates over the coming days.

(JTWC map)

(Cheng Ming-dean map)

(RAMMB map)