Impending tropical cyclone threatens eastern Japan as typhoon season commences

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Source: Hong Kong Observatory

24th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s Observatory issued an alert on Thursday, forecasting the development of a tropical cyclone in the Western North Pacific, near the eastern shores of the Philippines. The system is expected to evolve and potentially affect areas including Tokyo, Japan in the latter part of next week. Travellers planning to visit Japan are advised to monitor the situation closely.

The Observatory highlighted that a cluster of convective clouds currently active in the region is likely to intensify into a tropical cyclone. Based on the latest computer model projections, the system might initially move east of the Philippines and then veer northwards across the Western North Pacific towards the eastern coast of Japan.

Meteorological conditions, including elevated sea temperatures and minimal vertical wind shear, are favourable for cyclone formation in this area. The cyclone is predicted to be steered by a subtropical ridge located over the Western North Pacific, facilitating its northward trajectory.

In an evening bulletin, the Observatory’s Chief Scientist underscored the importance of the active tropical convergence zone near the equator. The zone, bolstered by the southwest monsoon, enhances conditions conducive to cyclone generation. As the northern hemisphere progresses into summer, the convergence zone is expected to shift northward, further influencing weather patterns in the region.

The potential cyclone is anticipated to make its northward turn in the waters east of the Philippines, guided by the subtropical ridge. Ensemble forecast models suggest a moderate likelihood that the cyclone will approach the area east of Luzon, Philippines, and then possibly shift northeast towards the eastern offshore areas of Japan by the middle to the latter part of next week. There is a 20-30% chance that the cyclone could impact the Tokyo region.

Regarding the possibility of the cyclone entering the South China Sea, predictive models indicate a less than 10% chance, suggesting minimal impact on Guangdong and Hong Kong.