Typhoon Soudelor, which has weakened from its peak intensity, remains a formidable storm as it heads for Taiwan and then coastal China late this week. The storm had reached an incredible intensity on Monday night when its maximum sustained winds were estimated at 180 miles per hour, or about 155 knots, with gusts above 200 miles per hour, making it the strongest tropical cyclone on Earth so far in 2015. ET, the storm was predicted to make landfall in central Taiwan as a Category 3 or 4 storm on Aug. 7, followed by a second landfall in China the following day.
As of Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, the storm was predicted to make landfall in central Taiwan as a Category 3 or 4 storm on Aug. 7, followed by a second landfall in China the following day. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is predicting that the storm will regain some strength before it hits Taiwan.
This forecast is due in part to guidance from a recently upgraded computer model known as the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting Model, or HWRF. The model has shown greater skill in predicting the track and intensity of Northwest Pacific typhoons since its upgrade compared to others, according to recent comments from the director of the National Weather Service.
The re-intensification forecast also flows from an area of higher ocean heat content that the storm will traverse before arriving in Taiwan, potentially allowing it to grow stronger once again. Soudelor may have some surprises up its sleeve, too, considering that it has already undergone one episode of rapid intensification when it struck the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. Another such burst of power, which is difficult to predict in advance, could bring the storm to Category 4 or 5 intensity super typhoon right before landfall, in a worst-case scenario for Taiwan. Read more…