Tropical activity may have settled down across the Atlantic, but the East Pacific is active with Tropical Storm Marie and the West Pacific continues to churn out new tropical systems, and the latest storm may track near southern Japan into midweek.
As what was once Severe Tropical Storm Dolphin passed near eastern Japan late last week and over the weekend, a new tropical feature began taking shape in the West Pacific Basin.
This area of showers and thunderstorms organized into a tropical depression near 160 east longitude on Saturday, local time, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). By Sunday, the depression had strengthened further into a tropical storm and was given the name Kujira by the JMA.
On Monday night, Kujira strengthened into a severe tropical storm with wind speeds around 93 km/h (58 mph).
As of early Tuesday, Kujira was able to achieve wind speeds of 111 km/h (69 mph), making it the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale used in the Atlantic and East Pacific basins.
Severe Tropical Storm Kujira is seen on satellite across the western Pacific Ocean on Monday night, Sept. 28, 2020. (CIRA/RAMMB)
Severe Tropical Storm Kujira will be located in an area of warm water and low wind shear as it tracks to the northwest then the north, which will allow the storm to gradually strengthen through Tuesday.
The window for any additional strengthening is dwindling as the storm is quickly approaching cooler water and an area of increased wind shear.
By the second half of the week, the storm is expected to transition into a non-tropical system.
Regardless of exact strength and tropical characteristics, little impact to land is expected from this storm. The current track keeps the storm to the south and east of Japan and away from the smaller islands of the northern West Pacific Ocean.
Early last week, Dolphin developed into a tropical storm and quickly strengthened into a severe tropical storm. While the storm lost some wind intensity by the end of the week as it passed to the south and east of Japan, it still brought areas of heavy rainfall.
Late Thursday night, 333 mm (13.11 inches) of rain fell in 5 hours at Muroto Misaki. Of this, an incredible 130 mm (5.10 inches) fell within a single hour.
AccuWeather forecasts will continue to monitor this portion of the West Pacific basin into next weekend as more tropical development is possible.
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