The size of typhoon Soudelor and the strength that it is packing is expected to pick up in the coming days, meaning that the city of Taipei remains directly in its sights. The main Japanese island of Okinawa will likely fall into the northern-most reaches of the storm and may be avoided, but a direct hit on the Taiwanese capital of Taipei appears possible.
Taipei has a population of 2.6 million people and features a cityscape of tall buildings and skyscrapers that could be vulnerable to the storm’s strong winds.
Where is it headed?
Even though the storm has weakened from what was first considered a super typhoon to the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane, it is still believed to currently be causing winds of 120 miles per hour.
The storm is expected to strengthen, however, with both the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and Japan Meteorological Agency predicting that it will strengthen back up to the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane with up to 140 mile per hour winds late on Thursday.
When will it strike?
The timing of that renewed strengthening could be potentially devastating as that will coincide with when it is scheduled to approach southwestern Japanese islands and Taiwan. The next area in the storm’s path looks likely to be southeast China, where it may hit overnight on Friday into Saturday morning.
The three Chinese provinces that are may fall in the storm’s path — Fujian, Zhejiang and Guangdon — have a combined population of 200 million people, according to ABC News.