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New storms brewing in North Pacific

Thursday 13 August 2015 | Published in Regional


PACIFIC – In the wake of deadly Super Typhoon Soudelor, two new tropical threats are brewing in the western Pacific Ocean.

Indications continue to suggest a large area of showers and thunderstorms, located east-southeast of Guam, are serving as the breeding ground for multiple tropical systems that could emerge before the end of the week.

“Two tropical storms will likely form by the weekend,” stated US-based AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards.

The most likely scenario involves a pair of tropical systems developing, with the westernmost storm strengthening as it tracks northwest toward the Northern Mariana Islands this weekend.

Areas that were battered by Soudelor could again have to deal with a strong tropical system, has warned.

The potential cyclone would then travel generally west to northwest across the open ocean between the Mariana Islands and Taiwan, on a similar path to Soudelor early next week.

Possibilities beyond that would take the potential cyclone anywhere from Taiwan to eastern China or the Korean Peninsula late next week or early the following week.

Another concern is that relatively low wind shear and warm ocean waters would allow this system to become a large typhoon or even a super typhoon when at peak intensity.

The second likely tropical system is expected to develop farther east and track northward over the open Pacific Ocean.

While initially the storm could impact parts of the Marshall Islands, the northward track would then take the storm over open ocean with no impacts on islands or land masses later next week.

The dual weather circulations near Pohnpei and north of Majuro have caught the interest of local weather service meteorologists, as the storms are likely to make their way toward the Mariana Islands.

“We’ll have to monitor them very closely because they could head our way over the weekend,” said lead forecaster Clint Simpson. “We think eventually we will get some weather moving across the Marianas, but exactly how strong and exactly where these current systems move is difficult to forecast.

In the meantime, the weather service is urging residents to keep tabs on weather conditions.

“We think people should pay particular attention this year because we are in an El Niño pattern and we have very active monsoon-type weather, so people should be prepared this year in particular.”

The advancing circulation was expected to bring combined sea heights up to three metres, which is hazardous for small craft.

Residents in the Marshall Islands, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk are advised to monitor the weather situation and listen for updates and, if needed, instructions from local emergency management offices in Micronesia, a special weather statement said.

As the two storms move closer to Guam, weather experts will have a clearer idea of how they will develop and just how they might affect Saipan and the rest of the Marianas.

Local and federal authorities in the Northern Marianas have finally opened a disaster recovery centre on Saipan, over a week after Typhoon Soudelor battered the territory’s main island.

The centre will help individual and families affected by the typhoon with the recovery process, and experts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US Small Business Administration, and the Red Cross will also be available.

The number of people registered for FEMA assistance has reached more than 3000.

The Red Cross has also set up a site for people seeking assistance, and is giving away vouchers so people can buy essential items.