Typhoon "Maria" forms near Guam, heading toward Ryukyu Islands, Japan


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Tropical Storm "Maria" formed July 4, 2018, very close to Guam as the 8th named storm of the 2018 Pacific typhoon season. On July 5, Maria intensified into a Severe Tropical Storm, or Category 1 typhoon according to JTWC.

At 06:00 UTC on July 5, the center of Severe Tropical Storm "Maria" (JMA) was located about 82 km (51 miles) northwest of Guam. Its 10-minute sustained winds were reaching 95 km/h (60 mph), and its 1-minute sustained winds 130 km/h (80 mph), with gusts of up to 130 km/h (80 mph). The minimum barometric pressure was at 992 hPa, and the system was moving west-northwestward at 17 km/h (10 mph).

Image credit: UW-CIMSS

Maria dumped heavy rain (up to 150 mm / 6 inches) on Guam and produced gusty winds and minor storm surge as it passed over.

The system is still affecting Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands but conditions are expected to improve by early Friday, July 6 (local time).

This storm will continue intensifying over the next couple of days, quite possibly reach super typhoon status (JTWC) and could come close to the Ryukyu Islands, Japan early next week.

Tropical Cyclone "Maria" forecast track by JMA at 06:00 UTC on July 5, 2018.

Typhoon "Maria" at 06:20 UTC on July 5, 2018. Credit: JMA, Himawari-8; CIRA

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said the storm should not have a direct impact on Taiwan. However, if a high pressure system strengthens, Maria could change its course and lash northern Taiwan by Monday, July 9. 

It is still too early to make an accurate prediction as Maria's future path could be drastically changed.

Featured image: Typhoon "Maria" at 07:20 UTC on July 5, 2018. Credit: UW-CIMSS

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