West Pacific Storms: #Okinawa, #China, #Taiwan

After a few days with no storms anywhere in the world, we now have three cyclones and by the end of today (Sunday) probably four. None in the Atlantic, but two “fish storms” in the East Pacific off of Mexico (Felicia, a Cat 4!, and Guillermo, a tropic storm gathering intensity). Both headed away from land. But Tropical Storm In-Fa has the potential to be somewhat of a problem, expected to become a Typhoon in the next two days as it passes 60 miles south of the southern tip of Okinawa. If that forecast holds up, winds over that densely populated area there will be around 60mph. Here’s the swath in “plain language”:

Two WP Storms: click to embiggen.

While impacts to Okinawa aren’t expected to be too bad (although preparations for a typhoon are smart in case the forecast is blown), more worrying is the potential for a direct hit on Taipei, Taiwan, as a Category 2 storm. That would make quite a mess. However, that is five days away, the track and intensity forecast is pretty uncertain that far out, so something to watch but not get too worried about just yet. But consider the risks, especially if In-Fa turns out stronger than forecast.

If you are smugly sitting on the US East coast wondering why you should care (humanitarian aspects aside, of course!), consider how stressed out the world computer chip supply is right now and how vital Taiwan is, with one company, TSMC, accounting for an astounding 54% of chip sales according to this CNBC article. As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, global supply chains are very sensitive to events a world away. The virus didn’t break things; hurricanes and earthquakes do, making it harder to recover when things go badly.

Also of note is a system off the Mainland China coast, Invest WP99. JTWC has it tagged as a high formation potential in the next 12-24 hours, and it could reach hurricane force before it makes landfall near Yangjiang, southwest of Hong Kong/Macau.

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