Typhoon Lekima is forecast to strengthen significantly this week and pose a threat to lives and property across eastern Asia.
Lekima organized into a tropical storm on Sunday after becoming a tropical depression in the Philippine Sea, east of Luzon, on Saturday. It became a typhoon on Wednesday morning, local time.
A general northwest track over the next several days will keep Lekima over the open waters of the Philippine Sea, limiting impacts to land but allowing it to gain size and strength.
It had been more than five months since the last typhoon roamed the western Pacific Ocean before Francisco became a typhoon on Monday afternoon, local time.
Lekima quickly followed as the next typhoon in the West Pacific Basin on Wednesday morning.
Additional strengthening is forecast from Thursday into Friday, allowing Lekima to become a large and powerful typhoon with winds equal to a Category 2 hurricane in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.
There is a low chance that Lekima could go through a period of rapid intensification from Thursday into Friday, which could allow the storm to become even stronger.
Rough seas will be churned up from northern Luzon to Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands much of this week with wind and rain from Lekima reaching the southern Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan by Thursday with worsening conditions expected on Friday.
In the longer range, there are two scenarios for Lekima's track. The first would take the storm across or just north of Taiwan as a typhoon late this week before turning into eastern China.
In this scenario, flooding rainfall, mudslides and damaging winds would all be possible across Taiwan and the islands of Yaeyama and Miyako. Okinawa would receive a glancing blow of wind and rain from the storm.
Although some weakening would be possible prior to reaching eastern China, areas from Fujian to Jiangsu would be at risk for flooding rainfall and locally damaging winds from as early as Friday through the weekend.
Lekima may eventually turn northeastward and bring impacts to South Korea or Japan next week in this scenario.