Tropical Storm Lekima formed on Saturday and is continuing to grow in strength as it tracks across the Pacific Ocean. Forecasters are predicting the storm will stall in the Philippine Sea in midweek, which will potentially cause Lekima to strengthen yet further. The weather system could reach wind speeds which make it as powerful as a category two hurricane.
The exact path for Lekima is unknown, but it is predicted to make landfall this weekend.
According to the latest update from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Tropical Storm Lekima is tracking northwestward at a rate of 9.2mph.
In the latest JTWC advisory, Lekima was located 471 miles south of Kadena Airbase in Japan and is expected to intensify into a typhoon on Wednesday.
Japan’s southern Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan will feel the brunt of the weather system later this week.
According to the JTWC, Lekima is forecast to be the equivalent of a category one hurricane when it tracks close to the Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan on Friday.
Lekima has maximum sustained wind speeds of 80 mph, with gusts of up to 97 mph – making it the equivalent of a category one hurricane.
According to the Saffir Simpson Wind Scale, a category one hurricane is described as having very dangerous winds, which will produce some damage.
Should the system strengthen to the equivalent of a category two hurricane – with maximum sustained wind speeds of higher than 96mph – this is described as having extremely dangerous winds which will cause extensive damage.
After making landfall, Lekima is predicted to weaken to a tropical storm before heading across to eastern China at the weekend.
The main issue for Taiwan, Japan’s southern Ryukyu Islands and eastern China is rain, as more than a foot of rain is forecast on Saturday for higher areas in Taiwan.
Flooding and landslides could be triggered, and strong winds could also impact those areas.
According to Taiwan local news channel Focus Taiwan, a land warning is expected to be issued for much of the country late on Wednesday local time.
The Central Weather Bureau has urged residents to remain alert and keep aware of warnings.
At 8pm local time on Tuesday (1pm BST) Lekima was located approximately 840 km east-southeast of Taiwan’s southernmost tip.
Late on Wednesday, the effects of the storm could start to be felt, as sporadic showers will be followed by heavy rainfall.
The weather system is predicted to be at its closest to Taiwan on Thursday and Friday.
Also churning across the Pacific is Tropical Storm Francisco, which has made landfall in Japan and Krosa which will head toward southern Japan later this week.