After battering parts of the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, with wind gusts near 110 km/h (69 mph) and torrential rainfall on Thursday and Thursday night, Kong-rey now has its sights set on South Korea and mainland Japan.
South Korea is expected to face the brunt of Kong-rey as it remains a typhoon with winds equal to a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic or East Pacific oceans.
A turn toward the north is expected during the next 24 hours and will take the storm toward southern South Korea with a potential landfall on the island of Jeju.
Worsening conditions are expected into Friday as rain and gusty winds from Kong-rey impact much of South Korea.
The worst of the storm will be felt from Friday night into Saturday as Kong-rey tracks near or across Jeju and then crosses southeast South Korea.
This track will bring Kong-rey’s most powerful winds into the southern coastline of South Korea, with damaging winds impacting much of the southern half of the country.
Wind gusts of 100-125 km/h (62-78 mph) are expected in Jeju, Yeosu, Busan, Ulsan and Pohang.
Farther inland, wind gusts over 80 km/h (50 mph) are possible from Gwangju to Daegu.
Gusty winds will impact northern South Korea, including Seoul, but, damage will be localized.
Flooding will be a widespread threat throughout South Korea as Kong-rey brings persistent downpours into Saturday night.
Rainfall amounts of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) will be common across the country, with an AccuWeather StormMax™ of 300 mm (12 inches).
Conditions will improve across South Korea by Saturday night as Kong-rey races toward northern Japan.
Damaging winds will be the biggest concern for Japan, as western Kyushu and southwestern Honshu may endure a six-hour period of wind gusts over 80 km/h (50 mph) with peak gusts reaching 100 km/h (81 mph) in exposed coastal areas.
Southern and central Japan will dodge the heaviest rainfall from Kong-rey, with most locations expected to receive less than 25 mm (1 inch) of total rainfall. The exception will be parts of eastern Kyushu and Shikoku, where rainfall through Saturday can total up to 100 mm (4 inches) and cause localized flooding.
Kong-rey will rapidly track toward the northeast, passing near or over Hokkaido Sunday. Despite weakening, Kong-rey will still bring the risk for localized flooding and damaging winds to Hokkaido and northern Honshu during this time.
Rainfall will average 25-75 mm (1-3 inches), with locally higher amounts in Hokkaido. Wind gusts of 80-100 km/h (50-62 mph) will be possible across northern Honshu and the southern coast of Hokkaido on Sunday.
If Kong-rey makes landfall in mainland Japan, it will be the ninth tropical system and potentially the eighth typhoon to do so this year.
“The record for land-falling typhoons in a single season is 10 from 2004,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.
Residents are urged to monitor the progress of Kong-rey closely. Be sure to follow the advice of local officials and heed all evacuation orders.
Since Japan has been battered by numerous tropical systems, along with the historic flooding and deadly heat wave, Kong-rey can also put additional strain on the nation’s disaster recovery budget.
A break in tropical activity is forecast across the West Pacific Ocean next week, bringing relief to areas that have endured multiple strikes in recent weeks.