The Central Weather Bureau confirmed that Tropical Storm Soulik formed yesterday, adding that it could become the first storm to hit the nation this year.
The bureau said that the storm was formed at 8am.
As of 5pm, the center of the storm was 2,440km east of the nation’s southerbmost tip in Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), Pingtung County.
The storm’s maximum wind speed had risen to 20m per second, and the radius of the storm expanding to 100km.
Soulik was moving westward at a speed of 20kph.
Based on the bureau’s projected path for the storm, Soulik’s circumfluence was forecast to come near the nation’s east coast on Friday.
The center of the storm is expected to move to the sea off the northeast coast on Saturday, the bureau added.
Bureau forecaster Lin Pin-yu (林秉煜) said that whether the storm would become the first to batter the nation this year depends on where it moves on Thursday.
According to the bureau’s analysis, the strength of a high air pressure system in the Pacific Ocean will determine which direction the storm goes.
Should the high air pressure weaken, the storm will turn northwest and move toward Japan.
The storm will continue westward if the high air pressure becomes stronger or remains the same, which means Taiwan would be under threat.
Lin said that chances of afternoon thundershowers would be high until Thursday, particularly on the west coast.
He also said that the thundershowers over the weekend had mainly occurred in the mountainous areas in the Greater Taipei area.
As the tropical storm’s cells move southward, thunderstorms will occur mainly in the plains on the west coast.
Places likely to be affected include Greater Taichung, Changhwa, Yunlin and Greater Tainan.
Aside from thunder, lightning and gusting wind, residents in these areas should be wary of hail if there is strong atmospheric convection — the rising of air. One way of detecting high convection is through the appearance of cumulus clouds.
Chances of rain in Yilan and Hualien counties, as well as in mountainous areas in the north are low, the bureau said, adding that despite the clouds, people should protect themselves from sunburn.