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Budding typhoon to strike Philippines before eyeing southern China, Vietnam

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A budding typhoon threatens to blast Luzon Island of the Philippines with flooding rain and damaging winds this weekend before taking aim at southern China and northern Vietnam.

Tropical Storm Sarika, known as Karen in the Philippines, will track very close to the northern Bicol region of Luzon on Friday night into Saturday, local time, before slamming into central Luzon on Saturday night.

Sarika will strengthen into a typhoon with its strength equal to that of a Category 1 hurricane during this time. It is not out of the question for Sarika to ramp up into the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane prior to landfall.

Regardless of its exact strength, Sarika will endanger residents and property across Luzon Island by unleashing flooding rain, damaging winds and dangerous seas through this weekend.

Excessive rainfall totaling 200-300 mm (8-12 inches) will severely inundate the Bicol region and east-central Luzon, resulting in widespread life-threatening flooding and mudslides. There will be locally greater amounts, especially in the higher terrain.

The inundating rain will commence in Bicol region on Friday with northern Samar also being grazed.

As Sarika strengthens, the risk of damaging winds and dangerous seas will increase.

Wind gusts of 65-115 km/h (40-70 mph) will also whip the Bicol region, resulting in power outages, tree damage and minor damage to well-constructed homes. More significant damage will result along the east-central coast of Luzon, where winds will gust to 130-160 km/h (80-100 mph) as Sarika comes onshore.

The eastern coast of Luzon will also be subject to coastal flooding with the highest storm surge near and north of where Sarika makes landfall.

The risk of flooding, power outages and wind damage will expand across central Luzon as Sarika tracks through on Sunday. Rainfall will generally be on the order of 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) with wind gusts of 95-130 km/h (60-80 mph).

"Manila will be spared from the brunt of this future typhoon but will still endure rainfall amounts of 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) with wind gusts of 80-95 km/h (50-60 mph)," AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards said.

Flooding threatens to rapidly unfold in the nation's capital. AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said that heavy rain will pour down in around six hours.

Residual flood waters, damage and sporadic power outages could cause more disruptions as residents head back to work and school on Monday.

Sarika will move away from Luzon by Monday as it progresses into the South China Sea. While the mountainous terrain of Luzon will weaken Sarika, potentially back to a tropical storm, the environment over the South China Sea will provide ample opportunity for restrengthening.

Sarika will reach its peak intensity as a strong typhoon over the South China Sea before making a final landfall in mainland southeastern Asia.

Residents from southern China, including Hainan Island, to northern Vietnam remain on alert for potential significant impacts from the future typhoon around the middle of next week.

Destructive winds, flooding rain and a storm surge would accompany Sarika onshore. Downpours from Tropical Depression Aere late this week will put Hainan Island and north-central Vietnam at a greater risk of devastating flooding from Sarika.

Latest indications keep the worst of Sarika south of Hong Kong. However, the outer rain bands could still bring downpours and gusty winds to the city on Tuesday or Wednesday.

On the heels of this system, another will develop south and west of Guam this weekend. Scenarios for that system later next week range from a track toward northern Luzon, Taiwan or Japan's Ryukyu Islands.

Looking further ahead to tropical threats this winter, AccuWeather's long-range forecasting team includes the Philippines in the area of greatest risk in the West Pacific for a landfalling tropical storm or typhoon.