Super typhoon Sinlaku
Sinlaku is now a super typhoon with sustained winds of 125kts. JTWC now peak Sinlaku at 135kts, which is on the borderline for cat 4/5. If it did achieve this, it would be the first tropical cyclone to officially reach cat 5 this year so far.
Taiwanese authorities issued an alert to ships and warned of floods and mudslides as Typhoon Sinlaku strengthened into a Category 4 storm as it churned across the Pacific Ocean toward the island and southern Japan.
The storm may be close to Taiwan by Sept. 14, the Taiwan Weather Bureau said on its Web site. The Japan Meteorological Agency said the southwestern islands of Okinawa may experience heavy rain, floods and high waves as Sinlaku approaches.
The eye of Sinlaku was 398 kilometers (248 miles) southwest of Taitung on the southeastern coast of Taiwan at 2 a.m. local time, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said in an advisory on its Web site.
Sinlaku’s maximum sustained winds increased to 232 kilometers per hour from 176 kph yesterday, making it a Category 4 storm, the second strongest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity. The storm’s winds were gusting to 278 kph.
The typhoon was heading north at 4 kph and is forecast to strengthen further to almost a Category 5 storm with winds of 250 kph by early tomorrow. Waves are as high as 9 meters (30 feet) in the vicinity of Sinlaku’s eye, the typhoon center said.
The typhoon is expected to pass between northern Taiwan and Okinawa before swinging northeast and approaching the main islands of Japan by Sept. 16, according to U.S. Navy forecasters.