Tropical storms nearing Taiwan could intensify

Tropical storms nearing Taiwan could intensify
PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Two tropical storms named Goni and Atsani formed yesterday. The former is moving toward the Ryukyu Islands and its impact on Taiwan may be felt starting next Friday, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday.

The twin tropical storms in the Western Pacific formed at 2 p.m. yesterday. While Goni is now very close to Guam, Atsani is churning several hundred miles to the east.

With low wind shear, a moist atmosphere and ample ocean heat, each of the storms is expected to further intensify into a typhoon as they move through the Mariana Islands this weekend, according to The Weather Channel.

Once Goni departs the Marianas, or possibly even sooner, rapid intensification is possible, with the system possibly attaining super typhoon status (sustained winds of at least 240 kilometers per hour) around the middle of next week.

Steered by high pressure just south of mainland Japan, Goni may eventually pose a threat to Taiwan late next week, The Weather Channel reported.

Trajectories Uncertain

Goni and Atsani are still 3,000 and 4,300 kilometers away from Taiwan, respectively, as of press time, and their future trajectories are still far from certain at this point, according to the CWB.

Goni is moving in the direction of west-northwest. It is expected to see a reduction in strength and to slow down in pace after next Tuesday. As a consequence, it will be nearer to Atsani approaching behind. Goni's maximum sustained winds were reportedly 80 kilometers per hour.

Meteorologists say that in a scenario where the two storms gain power in the days ahead, given their close proximity, it may result in the Fujiwhara effect, whereby two cyclonic vortices orbit each other and close the distance between the circulations of their corresponding low-pressure areas. Their trajectories may deviate further as a result.

The Fujiwhara effect may be seen on Wednesday or Thursday, and the storms' fringe winds may reach Taiwan by Friday.

Whereas Typhoon Soudelor travelled on a straight path, the paths of these two storms are far less predictable as they interact with each other along the way.

Meteorologists would not make forecasts regarding the storms' future impact on Taiwan, as there is not enough data to make the evaluation.

Although the forecast may still change, the public is advised to closely monitor the progress of each of these systems.

More Showers in Central and Southern Taiwan

Due to the impact of a southwesterly wind, Central and Southern Taiwan may see brief rain and thundershowers throughout the day today, for both flatland and mountainous areas.

The weather will be relatively stable in Northern Taiwan and there will be fewer afternoon thundershowers compared with days earlier.

Temperatures are expected to reach 33 degrees Celsius or higher across the island, according to weather forecasters.

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