Powerful Typhoon Ma-On On Track To Strike Mainland Japan Next Week

Typhoon Ma-On Targeting Japan (AccuWeather, July 14, 2011):

A powerful typhoon is on track to strike mainland Japan early next week.

Widespread adverse impacts from rain, wind and heavy seas would result from a direct hit on the southern mainland. Heavy rain, high winds and rough seas could also impact the site of the tsunami and nuclear disaster north of Tokyo.

Ma-on, which gained typhoon status east of the Northern Mariana Islands Wednesday, will continue to intensify into Saturday as it spins westward over the northern Philippine Sea. This dramatic strengthening of Ma-on could culminate in super typhoon status for a time over open water.

As of Thursday night, local time, the typhoon packed maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, with higher gusts. At the time, the heart of Ma-on’s fury was paying a raucous visit to the northernmost Mariana Islands, tiny, uninhabited Farallon de Pajaros, and Maug and Asuncion islands.

Storm movement, toward the west Thursday, is likely to become northwesterly or even northerly by the end of the week.

Given a forecast late-week turn toward the north, the center of Ma-on could be nearing the southwestern shores of Japan early next week, packing potentially destructive winds, flooding rain and dangerous storm tides.

Storms of the kind that Ma-on is likely to become can unload extreme rainfall of 10 to 20 inches, with flooding and mudslides, upon reaching Japan.

Depending upon storm intensity at landfall, winds above hurricane strength could unleash widespread destruction.

Greater Tokyo is unlikely to feel the worst of the storm, no matter its ultimate track. Still, flooding rain and damaging winds could hit at midweek.

Likewise, in northeastern Honshu, at the site of the March tsunami and nuclear disaster, there is potential for heavy rain, high winds and rough seas next week.

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