Francisco to Strike Southern Japan Monday Night; Lekima Could Be a Threat to East Asia Late This Week

Tropical Storm Francisco is closing in on landfall in southern Japan, and that could be followed by Tropical Storm Lekima taking aim at eastern Asia later this week.

Francisco to Strike Japan First

Francisco’s top sustained winds Monday local time were about 70 mph, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).

The JTWC forecasts that Francisco will reach the southernmost of Japan’s large islands, Kyushu, Monday night into early Tuesday local time.

Francisco will then go on to make landfall in South Korea as a weakening tropical storm around Tuesday or Wednesday.

The main threat from Francisco will likely be heavy rain in parts of southern Japan, including Kyushu, Shikoku and southwestern Honshu. Flooding and landslides are possible threats, particularly in higher-terrain locations.

Heavy rain will also be a concern in eastern sections of South Korea.

Lekima a Possible Threat to Japan, Taiwan and Eastern China Later This Week

Tropical Storm Lekima has joined Francisco in the Western Pacific and could go on to impact parts of southern Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and eastern China later this week.

Lekima is currently centered several hundred miles south-southeast of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

The forecast for Lekima is still uncertain, but it’s predicted to gradually move northwestward over the next few days as it slowly intensifies. It’s possible Lekima could impact Japan’s southern Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan as a strong tropical storm late in the week ahead.

Lekima is currently forecast to make a final landfall in eastern China as tropical storm by this weekend.

Typhoons in the Northwest Pacific are equivalent to hurricanes in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific. Both names apply to tropical cyclones that have sustained winds of at least 74 mph.

Check back to in the week ahead for additional details on the forecast for Lekima.

A Quiet Typhoon Season So Far

This year has been uncommonly calm to date for typhoon activity in the Northwest Pacific, which is normally the most active region on Earth for tropical cyclones. The only typhoon recorded in 2019 so far was Wutip, the first Category 5 super typhoon on record in February. Wutip passed south of Guam and Micronesia as a Category 4 storm, producing more than $3 million in damage.

In JTWC records that go back to 1945, only one other year, 1998, has gone from the end of February to the beginning of August without any typhoons, as noted by Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University.

In a typical season (1981-2010), the Northwest Pacific sees about eight named storms and five typhoons by Aug. 2. This year has brought just five named storms and one typhoon so far.

The amount of accumulated cyclone energy in the Northwest Pacific – which is calculated based on how strong tropical cyclones get and how long they last – was only a little over half of average for the year as of Aug. 2, according to data compiled by Colorado State University.

Japan is accustomed to typhoons. In a typical year, three typhoons strike Japan, according to data from the Japan Meteorological Agency analyzed by Landfalls are most common in August, but the most destructive typhoons tend to be in September.