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Super Typhoon Rai closest to Taiwan Dec. 21-22

Rai likely to weaken into tropical storm or tropical depression by next week

Super Typhoon Rai about to hit Philippines Thursday. (NOAA image) 

Super Typhoon Rai about to hit Philippines Thursday. (NOAA image) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Super Typhoon Rai will bring rain to Taiwan early next week, though it might weaken into a tropical storm after passing over the Philippines, reports said Thursday (Dec. 16).

The storm was only upgraded to the level of a super typhoon earlier in the day, and thousands of people are evacuating their homes in the Philippines, as experts forecast it will sweep through the country’s central and southern regions.

Tuesday (Dec. 21), the eye of the storm is expected to be 750 kilometers west-southwest of Eluanbi, Taiwan’s southernmost point. However, forecasters predict that Rai will have weakened into a tropical storm or even a tropical depression by that time, the Liberty Times reported.

Lower air and water temperatures north of the typhoon play a key role in the potential downgrading of the storm’s intensity. All of Taiwan will still experience rain for at least three days beginning Dec. 21, though the east coast is likely to escape the worst.

Rai, known as Odette in the Philippines, is the 22nd tropical storm of the season. Meteorologists caution that it might take until Sunday (Dec. 19) for the precise route of the typhoon to become clear.