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Fox News Weather Center

Typhoon Meranti to intensify before striking Taiwan Wednesday

Typhoon Meranti is expected to intensify over the next couple of days and may become a super typhoon before striking Taiwan on Wednesday.

Currently a low-end typhoon, or Category 1 equivalent hurricane, Meranti will continue on a northwestward track this week and encounter favorable conditions for further strengthening.

"Meranti will be traveling through an environment with low wind shear and very warm ocean water which will favor further intensification," AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty said.

Meranti could eventually reach super typhoon status early this week. In order for a typhoon to be classified as a ‘super' typhoon, sustained wind speeds of at least 240 km/h (150 mph) are needed.

Regardless if it reaches that status or just falls short, damaging winds, torrential rain and mudslides will still threaten Taiwan early Wednesday morning into Thursday.

"Impacts to Taiwan could begin on Tuesday night, local time, but Wednesday seems to be the most likely time for the greatest impacts as Meranti tracks across the country," Douty said.

Meranti will have the potential to cause damage to parts of Taiwan, especially the eastern coast. Rough surf will begin to batter the coast Tuesday and will only increase heading into Wednesday. A storm surge of 2 to 3 meter (7 to 10 feet) is expected along the coast.

Sustained winds of 160 km/h to 190 km/h (100 mph to 120 mph) are also likely where the system comes onshore Wednesday, resulting in downed trees and power outages. As of right now, the most likely landfall may occur near Taitung county in southeastern Taiwan.

Significant rainfall of 250 to 500 mm (10 to 20 inches) will be possible with locally higher amounts of up to 750 mm (30 inches) in the mountains.

"Rainfall on this magnitude will lead to significant flash flooding and mudslides," Douty said.

While the eastern island takes the brunt of the storm, the western side will also see heavy rain and gusty winds later Wednesday into Thursday.

Rainfall amounts of 100 mm to 200 mm (4 to 8 inches) are likely from Pinging county northward to Taipei. Wind gusts of 95 km/h to 130 km/h (60 mph to 80 mph) will also be possible. This could lead to minor to moderate wind damage and flooding.

The system is expected to depart Taiwan and then make second landfall in China, along the Fujian Province coast on Thursday.

By this time Meranti will be much weaker but will still be impactful.

"There could still be minor wind damage along the coast, but flooding will be the primary threat at this point," Douty said.

Widespread 100 to 200 millimeters (4 to 8 inches) of rain will be possible across northern Fujian into Zhejiang.

If Meranti makes landfall on Taiwan as a typhoon, it will be the second typhoon to do so this season.

Typhoon Nepartak made landfall near Taitung City back in early July leaving parts of the island devastated and six people dead. Nepartak would later make a second landfall in southeastern China.