Super Typhoon Nepartak rapidly intensifies off Taiwan

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Super Typhoon Nepartak has rapidly intensified just under 300 miles southeast of Taipei, Taiwan, and poses a dangerous threat to Taiwan, Japan’s far southwest Ryukyu Islands and eastern China late this week.

Nepartak exploded from a tropical storm with wind speeds of 110 kilometers per hour (70 miles per hour) on July 4 to a Category 5 equivalent super typhoon with winds hitting 240 kph (150 mph) the following day. And it could surge even higher.

Super typhoon Nepartak, Super typhoon Nepartak video, Super typhoon Nepartak path, Super typhoon Nepartak pictures, Super typhoon Nepartak july 2016
via Weather.com

Nepartak developed over the weekend south of Guam and strengthened into a typhoon Monday evening. It is the first named storm in the western north Pacific basin since Dec. 17, 2015, setting a new record for the longest stretch without at least a single tropical storm in the western North Pacific basin in 66 years of records.

Super Typhoon Nepartak is forecast to move west-northwest and then northwest around the periphery of subtropical high pressure that is in place over the western Pacific.

Exactly when and how sharp Nepartak turns toward the northwest will ultimately determine the impacts in Taiwan, Japan’s far southwest Ryukyu Islands and parts of eastern China later this week.

Super typhoon Nepartak, Super typhoon Nepartak video, Super typhoon Nepartak path, Super typhoon Nepartak pictures, Super typhoon Nepartak july 2016
Path of the Super typhoon Nepartak via Twitter / James Reynolds

As of this time, it’s too soon to tell which of these areas would take a direct hit from Nepartak’s core of most intense winds and heavy rainfall.

For now, any impacts in Japan’s far southwest Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan would arrive Thursday into Friday (local time), and in eastern China, those impacts could arrive late Friday into Saturday. Of course, the severity of those impacts will depend on the exact track and strength of Nepartak at that time.

Super typhoon Nepartak, Super typhoon Nepartak video, Super typhoon Nepartak path, Super typhoon Nepartak pictures, Super typhoon Nepartak july 2016
via Twitter / NOAA Satellites

Nepartak is forecast to strengthen further over the next 12 to 18 hours. It may weaken a bit before affecting the southwest Ryukus and Taiwan, but still may be an intense tropical cyclone at its nearest pass to those areas. Nepartak is expected to be considerably weaker once it nears China, but how much weaker remains uncertain, for now.

Record Long Streak For Western North Pacific Ends

Prior to Nepartak’s formation, not a single tropical storm, much less a typhoon (the term for a hurricane in the western North Pacific Basin), had formed west of the international date line – the world’s busiest tropical cyclone corridor – since mid-December 2015.

This set a new record for the longest stretch without at least a single tropical storm in the western North Pacific basin in 66 years of records.

Super typhoon Nepartak, Super typhoon Nepartak video, Super typhoon Nepartak path, Super typhoon Nepartak pictures, Super typhoon Nepartak july 2016, typhoon draught records
All NW Pacific Typhoon droughts longer than 170 days. via Twitter / Philip Klotzbach

This first six months of 2016 have been completely opposite from what we saw last year. By the end of June 2015, there had already been nine tropical cyclones in the northwest Pacific basin, including three super typhoons of Category 5 equivalent intensity.

Hopefully, this powerful storm will not beat any victim records.

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