Infrared image of Maysak
Infrared image of Typhoon Maysak at 1400Z (10 a.m. EDT) Monday, August 31, 2020. The island of Okinawa is outlined just to the northeast of Maysak's eye. (Image credit: SSEC/CIMSS/University of Wisconsin)

After sweeping across Japan’s Ryukyu Islands on Monday night local time, powerful Typhoon Maysak is headed for a likely Wednesday landfall in South Korea that may lead to widespread and potentially severe damage.

At 8 a.m. EDT Monday, August 31 (3 p.m. Tuesday Korea Standard Time), Maysak was about 110 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Force Base on the island of Okinawa, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center, JTWC, which reported that Maysak was packing 1-minute sustained winds of 125 mph, the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.

Maysak was on track to pass directly over or just west of tiny Kumejima island, where storm chaser James Reynolds (@EarthUncutTV) was stationed. Kumejima has only a few thousand residents. Maysak’s center is likely to pass about 40-50 miles west of more populous Okinawa, which has more than a million residents. At that distance, the island will not feel the full brunt of the storm. Intense squalls will be possible, though, as Maysak has a large circulation. Wind gusts of more than 60 mph were reported at Kadena AFB between around 10 and 11 a.m. EDT Monday.

Maysak could produce far more widespread damage later this week. Forecast models have consistently taken Maysak on an arcing path north and northeast into South Korea by Wednesday. Busan, the nation’s second largest city and the world’s fifth largest port, is expected to end up on the typhoon’s dangerous right-hand side, with destructive winds and storm surge a real threat. Maysak then will angle leftward, taking an unusual course near the peninsula’s east coast that could bring torrential rains and high wind across both South and North Korea and into far northeast China as the typhoon transitions into an unusually strong extratropical storm.

Maysak’s rapid motion will help limit total rainfall amounts, but the Korean peninsula is primed for flooding. Only a week ago, Typhoon Bavi – a weaker storm than Maysak – dumped heavy rain as it passed west of the peninsula before making landfall in western North Korea. What’s more, South Korea has endured one of its wettest and longest monsoon seasons on record this year, lasting for 54 days, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration. As noted by the Korea Herald, the nation as a whole averaged roughly 920 millimeters (36.22 inches) of rain from June 1 through August 15, compared to the long-term average of around 570 mm (22.44 inches).

Figure 1
Figure 1. Only one typhoon is known to have made landfall on the Korean peninsula at major hurricane (Category 3) strength: Sarah (1959). Maemi (2003) and Faye (1995) weakened to Category 2 strength just before landfall. (Image credit: NOAA Historical Hurricane Tracks)

Maysak appears destined to be among South Korea’s most intense typhoons on record, and perhaps the most intense. Typhoons reaching the south coast are among the most dangerous for the nation, because they are less likely to encounter the cooler waters and higher wind shear that often prevail further north. Multiple runs of the HWRF, among the top models for tropical cyclone intensity, have projected a central pressure for Maysak near the South Korea coast between 935 and 945 mb. The lowest pressure recorded in any typhoon in South Korea is 950 mb, observed during Typhoon Maemi on Jeju Island on September 12, 2003.

Meimi, which had peaked as a Category 5-equivalent super typhoon, made landfall just west of Busan. Severe impacts from Meimi included 117 deaths, $4.8 billion in damage (USD 2003), some 5,000 homes destroyed, and widespread crop damages. The only other comparable typhoon to strike the South Korea mainland, Sarah (1959), also made landfall just west of Busan. Sarah’s impacts were catastrophic, including at least 669 deaths and 14,000 destroyed homes.

A plethora of percolating Atlantic systems brings close to brief lull

The brief calm spell in the Atlantic after Hurricane Laura’s destructive landfall in Louisiana has drawn to an abrupt end. In its tropical weather outlook at 8 a.m. EDT Monday, August 31, the National Hurricane Center was tracking no fewer than four systems that could become tropical cyclones.

Figure 2
Figure 2. GeoColor satellite image of Invest 99L at 1550Z (11:50 a.m. EDT) Monday, August 31. (Image credit: RAMMB/CIRA/Colorado State University)

The most concerning threat to land this week is Invest 99L, a disturbance in the eastern Caribbean Sea. As of Monday morning, 99L was looking more organized, with mid-level spin evident, but not yet any low-level circulation. 99L is embedded in a moderately moist atmosphere (mid-level relative humidity around 60-65%), and it will be passing over warm sea-surface temperatures of around 29°C (84°F).

Wind shear of 15-20 knots is expected to keep the brakes on 99L as it crosses the Caribbean, so any development should be gradual, at least into midweek. Models agree that strong east-to-west steering currents will drive 99L toward the coast of Belize and northern Honduras by late this week, most likely as a strong tropical storm. Prolonged heavy rains are possible, especially in northern Honduras. NHC gave 99L 70% odds of becoming at least a tropical depression by Wednesday and an 80% chance through Saturday.

Figure 3
Figure 3. GeoColor satellite image of Invest 90L at 1550Z (11:50 a.m. EDT) Monday, August 31, 2020. (Image credit: RAMMB/CIRA/Colorado State University)

The other system of immediate interest, Invest 90L, is brewing just off the southeast U.S. coast, but it’s not expected to move inland. Surface pressures are high, and dry air was keeping shower and thunderstorm activity (convection) modest around this weak low on Monday morning.

However, a low-level circulation appeared to be taking shape. Light wind shear (below 10 knots), a moist atmosphere (relative humidity around 70%), and warm SSTs around 29-30°C (84-86°F) may allow 90L a chance for modest development before wind shear increases dramatically by midweek. Upper-level southwesterlies will push 90L northeastward, parallel to the Southeast coast, before it heads out into the Atlantic. NHC gave 90L a 70% chance of becoming at least a tropical depression by Wednesday or by Saturday.

Torrential rains in China cause $2.9 billion in damage, leave 63 dead or missing

The next two names on the Atlantic list are Nana and Omar. The earliest fourteenth named storm of any Atlantic season in records back to 1851 is Nate (September 5, 2005), so this year is likely to continue setting a record pace.

Figure 4
Figure 4. Infrared satellite image from the eastern tropical Atlantic at 1545Z (11:45 a.m. EDT) Monday, August 31, showing two disturbances of interest. (Image credit:

There is plenty of time to watch two other tropical waves in the far eastern Atlantic. One just moving off the African coast (right side of image) appeared healthier on Monday, with a broad field of convection. NHC is giving it a 30% chance of development between Wednesday and Saturday. A smaller, slower-moving wave just downstream (left side of image) was struggling to maintain its convection and is not expected to develop, with only a 10% chance later this week.

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Posted August 31, 2020 (1:43 p.m. EDT).

Bob Henson is a meteorologist and journalist based in Boulder, Colorado. He has written on weather and climate for the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Weather Underground, and many freelance...

203 replies on “Typhoon Maysak could become one of South Korea’s strongest typhoons on record”

  1. Notice that ULL that was over western Cuba yesterday is off the tip of the Yucatan today. Yesterday massive shear covered western Cuba through much of the western Caribbean. Look at that ULL, now acting as an anti-cyclone, as shown on windshear map. Insanely different than yesterday. ULL got vertically tilted and most of the shear cleared.×1000.jpg

  2. T.S Nana’s inflow notch is striking south of strongest convection. Has likely used this intense inflow to go quickly to an eyewall feature. Halfway to RI from 12 hours ago. May not have much time over water; but I think T.S Nana will make a run at 100mph hurricane. Is there anyway YCC to make it so these pictures don’t auto update. Makes it so the pic makes no sense to the post after a short time. Love the upgrades that have been made here, thank you!×1080.jpg

    1. Sure looks like a large amount of convection getting ready to exit the West African Coast, right behind the other two convective masses….and that one comes off just south of the Cape Verde Islands and we know that means…..Texas Hoosier

      1. Thanks, I quit trying that after I had to erase font for awhile lol. Glad many of the glitches are fixed now.

  3. This morning’s improvement south of Jamaica has been steady. New popcorn thunderstorms popping up from the north, east, and west. Strengthening over the last two hours has been impressive. 2010’s Hurricane Richard (pictured) caused a lot of problems. Belize City has a rough hurricane past, and Richard did them no favors. Unlikely we’ll get to the strength of Hurricane Richard 2010, but a hurricane looks like a real possibility.

  4. ULL TUTT has moved well west of Cuba this morning. While shear’s not going to be core destroying, much of the western side of soon to be classified 99L, has been feeling the shear and is far displaced from center. I would think that would allow a lot of dry air in; but the left arm keeps firing convection and even a little convection between this displaced arm and main convection east. Overall envelope has been squeezed into a rather odd triangle shape, while the center convection still very circular in shape.×1080.jpg

      1. I have linked there several times prior, but then lost the URL.

        Then, I bookmarked the dang thing so I only have me to curse if I can’t get there again.


    1. Though the link posted by WW only pulls up consecutive comments from those of us who go there and doesn’t let us check back except by scrolling through.

      1. Yes it works. But if you look at the notifications or want to see older comments, you have to scroll. As I said.

      2. Only one I’ve got, thanks for letting me know. I’ll not link it anymore, I had no idea. If you want to see older comments you have to scroll? I always have to “scroll” to see the older comments. I do not undersand in the least what you are saying. Y’all have a good day now.

      3. Oh no, please don’t do that. We appreciate having it, and it does still do notifications. It’s just that I can’t have conversations as the comments go further back. Please please keep linking to it whenever you like. This is something I really miss, being able to go back and forth with the friends I’ve made on Disqus. But it’s waaaay better than nothing.

  5. Well 9 more days to the calendar peak of the season and all is looking quiet hopefully it stays that way

  6. Japan Meteorological Agency
    Tropical Cyclone Advisory #39 – 21:00 PM JST September 1 2020
    240 km North of Kume Island (Okinawa Prefecture)

    At 12:00 PM UTC, Typhoon Maysak (935 hPa) located at 28.4N 126.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 95 knots with gusts of 135 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving north at 8 knots.

    Storm Force Winds
    110 nm from the center

    Gale Force Winds
    240 nm from the center

    Dvorak Intensity: T6.0-

    Forecast and Intensity
    24 HRS: 33.5N 127.6E – 80 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) 180 km west southwest of Tsushima (Nagasaki Prefecture)
    48 HRS: 45.4N 125.5E – 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm) Over land northeastern China
    72 HRS: 47.7N 123.0E – Extratropical Low Over land northeastern China


    Tropical Cyclone Advisory #11 – 21:00 PM JST September 1 2020
    near Ogasawara islands

    At 12:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Haishen (1000 hPa) located at 20.4N 144.1E has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 60 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving southwest slowly.

    Gale Force Winds
    120 nm from the center

    Dvorak Intensity: T2.5-

    Forecast and Intensity
    24 HRS: 21.0N 140.8E – 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm) near Ogasawara islands
    48 HRS: 22.1N 138.0E – 75 knots (CAT 3/Strong Typhoon) Okinotorishima waters
    72 HRS: 23.8N 135.3E – 90 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon) Sea south of Japan

    1. China Meteorological Administration

      TS HAISHEN 2010 (2010) INITIAL TIME 011200 UTC

      00HR 19.9N 144.1E 998HPA 18M/S

      30KTS WINDS

      MOVE W 14KM/H

      P+06HR 19.8N 143.3E 995HPA 20M/S (TS)
      P+12HR 19.8N 142.5E 985HPA 25M/S (STS)
      P+18HR 19.9N 141.8E 982HPA 28M/S (STS)
      P+24HR 20.1N 141.0E 980HPA 30M/S (STS)
      P+36HR 20.6N 139.4E 970HPA 35M/S (TY)
      P+48HR 21.4N 138.0E 960HPA 40M/S (TY)
      P+60HR 22.4N 136.7E 950HPA 45M/S (STY)
      P+72HR 23.4N 135.4E 940HPA 50M/S (STY)
      P+96HR 26.1N 132.6E 925HPA 58M/S (SuperTY)
      P+120HR 32.6N 130.3E 940HPA 50M/S= (STY)

      they have a nasty first advisory forecast.

  7. Looks like SpaceX Starlink launch sceduled for this morning from KSC has been pushed back to Sept 3rd at 8:46am. Weather is 80% chance.

    1. I haven’t seen a new launch date for the ULA Delta IV Heavy. I was at the beach until at least 2:30 a.m. the other night and finally gave up and went home. I watched the live video and that’s the first time I’ve ever seen (live) the ignition start and then heard the voiceover guy say, “2…1… liftoff” as the engines shut down. Hoping the new launch date is another nighttime attempt.

  8. Here in Belize we have been spared quite often over the past couple years but things ain’t looking too bright right now.

  9. No East winds just yet on the “circulation” in the Caribbean. If you look real closely you can see it’s not there at the moment.
    Outflow looks great but that quick forward speed is keep the circulation from being closed off on the south side.

  10. What’s everybody’s feeling on the rest of the 2020 season Florida then hit with any kind of storm this year it’s not looking that way now hopefully we will get lucky

Comments are closed.