Maliksi Strengthens Into a Typhoon East of Okinawa

Former Tropical Storm Maliksi strengthened into a typhoon east of Okinawa near Minami Daito Jima late on Saturday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Typhoon Maliksi was located at latitude 25.7°N and longitude 131.7°E which put it about 210 miles (335 km) east of Okinawa.  Maliksi was moving toward the northeast at 24 m.p.h. (39 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 970 mb.

The circulation of Typhoon Maliksi became more organized on Saturday.  An inner rainband wrapped around the center of circulation and an eye was apparent on satellite images.  There were intermittent breaks in the rings of thunderstorms around the eye.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of the circulation were revolving around the core of the typhoon.  Bands west of the center consisted primarily of showers and low clouds.  Storms near the core of Maliksi were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the northeast of the typhoon.  The circulation of Typhoon Maliksi was large and winds to tropical storm force extended out about 250 miles (400 km) from the center of circulation.

Typhoon Maliksi will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 12 to 24 hours.  Maliksi will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level trough to the west of Maliksi will produce southwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will produce some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification on Sunday.  The shear will increase after 18 to 24 hours and that will likely cause Maliksi to start to weaken.

The upper level trough is steering Maliksi toward the northeast and that general motion is expected to continue for another two or three days.  Typhoon Maliksi will speed past Minami Daito Jima during the next few hours.  On its anticipated track Maliksi will reach some of the islands south of Honshu in about 24 hours.  Typhoon Maliksi will produce gusty winds and locally heavy rain.