Typhoon Kong-Rey appears to be the next system in what has been an intense peak season for the Western Pacific, to reach Super Typhoon status over the coming days as it barrels North West towards the Ryukyu Islands. Above image via RAMMB / CIRA.

 

Typhoon Kong-Rey is currently situated well South of Japan and well East of the Philippines, over open waters across the Western Pacific. Kong-Rey is taking a very similar track to that of Trami which is currently situated over Japan as a weakening system, bringing heavy to very heavy rainfall and damaging winds to large parts of the region. Over the course of the next few days, as Kong-Rey tracks North West, its likely to enter a very favourable environment for consistent intensification and also eventually undergo an eye wall replacement cycle (which is fairly common for all typhoon’s of this nature) and this help it intensify further, allowing it to most likely reach ‘Super Typhoon’ or Category 5 strength. 

Rainbow Satellite showing a pinhole eye on a strengthening typhoon via NOAA

 

While Super Typhoon’s arent uncommon in the big picture, virtually every Typhoon season sees at least one or two. This year, with the very low vertical wind shear over very warm ocean temperatures East of the Philippines and South East / East of Taiwan… there is a period of what appears to be relentlessness with systems reaching Super Typhoon status, almost as if it was a daily occurrence. If Kong-Rey was to reach such a strength, it will be the 4th system out of the last 5 to reach Category 5 strength with Jebi (August 27 to September 7), Mangkhut (September 7 to September 17) and Trami (September 20 onwards) preceding it already. 

 

The system is likely to impact the Ryukyu Islands, which have just been directly hit by Trami less than a week ago, From there, models are split, and close attention should be paid to Eastern China, Southern Japan and South Korea as potential impact zones for the final landfall of Kong-Rey. Very destructive winds, torrential rainfall and a dangerous storm surge will threaten any of the Ryukyu Islands near the eye, with a widespread swath of damaging winds and heavy rain impacting an area well and truly away from the eye. Power failure (for any areas that still have power) and flooding are likely impacts also.

JTWC Forecast Track for Kong-Rey