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Typhoon Sanba (Bagyong Karen) seems to have successfully completed an eyewall replacement cycle and is now heading towards the Ryukyu Islands. It was last located approximately 300km south southeast of Okinawa. Maximum sustained winds are now at 205kph with gusts of up to 250kph. Typhoon Sanba is currently moving north northwestward at 20kph.
Kadena Air Base is now under TCCOR 1 with winds of 50kts or greater expected within 12 hours; stay safe and stay indoors! Likewise, Japan Meteorological Agency has issued Storm, High Waves, and Storm Surge Warnings!
IR Image from NRLMRY
Latest satellite image reveals a much improved organization compared to 12 hours ago. The eyewall replacement cycle which began 36 hours ago is now complete and a new eyewall has taken over. The eye has gotten larger and clearer in the past 3 hours. Furthermore, convective activity is increasing once more with that strong ring surrounding the eye.
Radar from JMA
Typhoon Sanba's outer rain bands are beginning to move into Okinawa and the rest of the islands. These bands can have thunderstorms embedded along in them and can bring as much as 30mm of rain in an hour. Furthermore, winds of up to 60kph are beginning to be reported across the Ryukyu Islands and will continue to strengthen as the hours go by.
For the latest radar images, warnings, and forecasts from Japan, please click HERE (JMA)
We expect Tropical Storm force winds (65kph or greater) to start impacting the islands in the next 3 hours. Typhoon force (120kph or greater) could start around midnight. Peak winds of 200kph are expected to be felt between 3am and 9am early Sunday morning. Strong winds may not end for Okinawa until Sunday evening. Along with the damaging winds, the islands are also in line for some very heavy rains with 300mm possible in some locations.
Forecast Track (NOT OFFICIAL!)
After Okinawa, Sanba will continue moving northward and will start to encounter hostile environment. It could weaken to a Category 2 by Sunday evening as it moves across the East China Sea. Sanba will also begin to accelerate as upper level winds increase. Based on the current forecasts, we expect Sanba to make landfall in South Korea (probably 100km west of Busan) between 3am and 9am South Korea Time. By this time, Sanba will have weakened to a Category 1 or maybe hold on to that Category 2 intensity.
Sanba will weaken to a Tropical Storm as it exits into the Sea of Japan by Monday evening and perhaps make a third landfall in the North Korean/Russian border approximately 200km west of Vladivostok by early Tuesday morning.
Typhoon Sanba is a powerful typhoon, please heed all the warnings and stay safe. If you do manage to get some videos or images, please share them with us at email@example.com
We'll have another update tomorrow. Stay safe!
Issued (0930 UTC) 530pm PhT 091512