Typhoon Maysak makes landfall in South Korea

By Courtney Spamer,

After already causing destruction in Japan's Ryukyu Islands, powerful Typhoon Maysak made landfall along the south coast of the Korean Peninsula on Thursday.

Portions of western Japan also continue to feel gusty winds and heavy bands of rain spinning around the periphery of Maysak.


The storm roared ashore early Thursday just west-southwest of the metropolis of Busan.

As of Wednesday evening, local news in Jeju reported over 20,000 homes were without power on the Korean island as the center of Maysak passed just to the east. Local news also reported a wind gust of 110 mph on Jeju Island around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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Thousands were evacuated along the coast of Gyeongnam. According to Yonhap News in Seoul, 40 scheduled trains on the nation's seven rail lines have been canceled or partly suspended.

The Korean Meteorological Administration said that Maysak was expected to follow a similar route as Typhoon Maemi in 2003. Maemi left 131 people dead or missing, and caused $3.5 billion in damage.


This region has been no stranger to tropical activity this year. Just a week ago some of the same locations were dealing with Bavi, which strengthened to a typhoon on Aug. 24 just north of the Ryukyu Islands before it navigated into the Yellow Sea and made landfall in North Korea on Aug. 27.

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"Maysak has surpassed Bavi and is now the strongest typhoon of the season with sustained winds reported up to 110 mph," said AccuWeather lead international forecaster Jason Nicholls.

Bavi's maximum sustained winds were 100 mph.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, a storm of this strength is a very strong typhoon, equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic or East Pacific oceans.

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After Maysak became a typhoon Saturday evening, the powerful storm steered toward the island of Okinawa early this week. Maysak's wrath first brought rough seas and wind-swept rain, but it quickly evolved into destructive winds, storm surge and flooding rainfall that lasted into early Wednesday, local time.

The city of Nago on Okinawa reported more than 9 inches of rain on Monday and Tuesday alone. On the southern side of the island, the city of Naha reported winds of 82 mph Tuesday.


On Tuesday morning, local news outlets reported that more than 33,000 homes in Okinawa were without electricity due to Maysak. This ferocious storm is also referred to as Julian in the Philippines.

The typhoon also caused the cancellation of more than 100 flights, which according to FlightAware is more than 40% of the island's air traffic. Maysak further disrupted travel in Okinawa by suspending bus operations throughout the day Tuesday.

As Maysak passes western Kyushu of Japan and approaches the southern shores of South Korea, similar, or worse, impacts were expected.

Widespread wind gusts of 40 mph to 60 mph were expected from Kyushu through the Korean Peninsula and into the Liaoning and Jilin provinces of China.

"A concentrated area from western Kyushu through the southern half of South Korea can expect wind gusts over 80 mph on Wednesday and Thursday," said Nicholls.

An AccuWeather Local StormMax of 140 mph for wind gusts is also possible near landfall along the southern coast of South Korea.

The strongest winds will be near the typhoon's center or just to east of the center at the time of landfall.

Coastal flooding and dangerous storm surge will also be a concern for cities like Busan, which are expected to remain east of the typhoon's eye.


Tremendous amounts of rain are also anticipated across the already flood-weary countries of North Korea and South Korea, and while the storm center has still not made landfall, heavy tropical rain has already spread across much of the Korean Peninsula.

Widespread rainfall 4 inches to 8 inches is forecast for much of the Korean Peninsula, including in Seoul.

Southern and central parts of South Korea are the most likely areas for the AccuWeather Local StormMax for rainfall of 12 inches.

Beacuse of these anticipated impacts, Maysak is expected to be a 3 on the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Tropical Cyclones for South Korea. The RealImpact Scale is a 6-point scale with ratings of less-than-1 and 1 to 5. Maysak is forecast to be a 2 on the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Tropical Cyclones in southern Japan.

The current forecasts for Maysak could make the typhoon one for the record books.

Maysak is not alone in the Western Pacific Ocean, as a new tropical system emerged in the basin on Monday. This new system could bring yet another tropical strike to the Korean Peninsula.

What started out as depression late on Monday strengthened into Tropical Storm Haishen on Tuesday evening.


As of Wednesday evening Haishen was located about 300 miles south of Iwo, Japan, and was classified as a Strong Tropical Storm by the Japanese Meteorological Agency, with sustained winds of 58 mph.

AccuWeather meteorologists are also forecasting Haishen to strengthen in the coming days as it continues on a westward to northwestward trajectory throughout the week.

"Just as soon as Maysak takes the title of strongest typhoon in the West Pacific so far this year, it looks like Haishen will come right on it's heels and unseat it, becoming even stronger than Maysak," said AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda.

"Haishen could follow right behind Maysak and aim for southern Japan and the Korean Peninsula as early as this weekend, bringing a second dose of tropical impacts," Nicholls explained.

"This has the potential to be particularly devastating for some parts of the Ryukyu Islands and South Korea as two strong typhoons, both the equivalent of major hurricanes in the Atlantic, could strike in almost the same spot in less than a week," Sojda warned.

"Any building or infrastructure that is weakened or only sustains minor damage from Maysak could then be taken out by Haishen. There simply will not be enough time to repair and reinforce things."


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