Typhoon Soulik has crossed several of the southernmost Japanese islands and made a landfall in Taiwan this morning local time. The Typhoon brought torrential rains and extreme winds to the Ishigakijima islands with peak gusts there recorded up to 117mph. As it passed to the south of these islands, Soulik exhibited concentric eye wall structure on radar where there are two eye walls, a smaller one surrounded by a larger one. This is typically a signal that the Typhoon or Hurricane is undergoing an eye wall replacement cycle. This is where the inner eye wall collapses and the outer eye wall takes over and contracts to a smaller diameter – this often occurs after a strong Tropical Cyclone ingests dry air as Soulik did yesterday. An eye wall replacement cycle often comes with a brief weakening period before restrengthening as the new eye wall contracts and establishes itself.
As Soulik made landfall in Taiwan, however, the outer eye wall broke up and wrapped into the inner eye wall which then took over with little weakening. This is likely due to interaction with the mountainous terrain of Taiwan, but made little change in the Typhoon’s intensity. While the storm’s center passed safely away from the mountains – meaning it could potentially remain somewhat in tact for another landfall in China – westerly winds to the south of Soulik in its outer bands are up-sloping on those same mountains producing extreme rains over 8″ of rain have been reported in some locations already and the storm is only half through. Meanwhile gusts along the coast in Taiwan have reached 112mph. As the core of the Typhoon (or the eye wall) moves inland across the northern tip of Taiwan, typhoon conditions should continue to spread into the more populated Taipei metro area where tropical storm conditions are occurring with gusts that have already reached 80mph.
Later today, Typhoon Soulik will continue tracking just north of due west out of the northern tip of Taiwan and into eastern China for a final landfall to the north of Fuzhou. It may maintain enough of its structure and intensity to remain a typhoon for this landfall, as forecast by the Japanese Meteorological Agency. Yet interaction with the land of Taiwan may weaken it to a Tropical Storm as forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Either way, expect tropical storm to near typhoon conditions with torrential rain causing some flooding and some coastal storm surge flooding in areas of onshore winds to the north of where the center of the Typhoon makes landfall.