Japan and South Korea could see damage from a typhoon that is gearing up in the Pacific this week. A tropical storm that has gained power and reached typhoon status to become Typhoon Ma-on could unleash flooding and destruction upon two countries already reeling from natural disaster.
By the end of the week Ma-on could wreak havoc on the southern part of Korea and southwestern Japan, bringing the potential for high winds and heavy rains at the site of the already-battered tsunami and nuclear disaster site in Honshu, Japan and adding to flooding that has been slamming South Korea.
According to Accuweather.com, the tropical storm turned typhoon is expected to strengthen and intensify during the weekend. It was classified as a full-fledged typhoon on Wednesday. Ma-on is expected to veer north, bringing heavy flooding and damaging winds to parts of Japan and South Korea.
Japan and South Korea have already seen plenty of disaster this year and the Korean peninsula is currently dealing with devastating floods that have caused landslides and flooded farmland and more than 350 homes. Rainfall in the western South Korea region topped 15 inches over two days early this week. One area in southwestern South Korea saw 19 inches of rain late last week and the previous weekend saw a 24-hour period of rain that measured 13 inches on Jinju.
As of Monday, 12 people had already died from the most recent torrential rain in South Korea after being crushed by landslides. The end of June saw Typhoon Meari bring excessive rain that has contributed to the flooding that is still going on in the Korean peninsula. Another typhoon will only add to that misery.
Japan's northeast has suffered this year already after the 9.0 Tohoku Earthquake in March that spawned a deadly tsunami and brought about nuclear crisis within the country. Damage from a typhoon will only stretch the resources of a country that is already struggling to recover.
Ma-on could elevate to super typhoon status while in the open sea and it is expected to intensify while in the Philippine Sea as it continues its westerly path. It is expected to turn north or northwest which will bring it in direct line with southern Japan and southern Korea. If Ma-on does not turn northward, a direct westerly path will take it to Taiwan.
Tammy Lee Morris is certified as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and is a trained Skywarn Stormspotter through the National Weather Service. She has received interpretive training regarding the New Madrid Seismic Zone through EarthScope -- a program of the National Science Foundation. She researches and writes about earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes and other natural phenomena.