The core of Typhoon Saola moved near Okinawa on Friday night. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Typhoon Saola was near latitude 26.2°N and longitude 128.2°E which put it about 70 miles (110 km) south of Okinawa. Saola was moving toward the north at 14 m.p.h. (22 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 979 mb.
The circulation of Typhoon Saola became more well organized on Friday. The primary rainband wrapped most of the way around the center of circulation. A large eye was surrounded by a broken ring of showers and thunderstorms. Low clouds and showers were scattered throughout the large eye. Several other bands of showers and storms were revolving around the core of Typhoon Saola. The rainbands were weaker on the northwestern side of Typhoon Saola and there appeared to be cooler, drier air on that side of the typhoon. Winds to typhoon force extended out about 50 miles (80 km) from the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 200 miles (320 km) from the center.
Typhoon Saola could be near its maximum intensity. Saola will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C. However Typhoon Saola is near the upper level westerly winds in the middle latitudes and the vertical wind shear will increase on Saturday. Typhoon Saola could strengthen a little more during the next six to twelve hours, but it will start to weaken when the vertical wind shear increases.
Typhoon Saola is moving around the western end of a ridge which is steering Saola toward the north. When Typhoon Saola reaches the westerly winds of the middle latitudes, those winds will turn Saola toward the east-northeast. On its anticipated track Typhoon Saola will bring strong winds and heavy rain to Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands. The center of Typhoon Saola will be near southern Kyushu in about 12 hours and the center could pass near Tokyo in about 24 hours.