July 5 (UPI) -- Japanese meteorologists expect the rapidly intensifying Typhoon Maria to threaten Japan and China next week after passing near Guam on Thursday.
The storm was located 184 miles northwest of Guam. Wind speeds doubled in intensity to 126 mph over the past 24 hours, the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.
The JTWC forecast Maria to reach a peak intensity of 161 mph, equivalent to a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane, by this weekend or sooner.
Its current track would send Typhoon Maria near Japan's Ryukyu Islands and it could travel as far west as eastern China, possibly including Shanghai, and then curl northeastward toward the Korean Peninsula.
Typhoon Maria previously brought heavy rain and wind gusts of at least 72 mph to Guam.
All previous warnings in Guam and the Northern Marianas were dropped as the storm continued toward Japan, but a flash flood watch remained in effect through Friday morning, as additional bands of heavy rain may trigger local flooding.