Taipei, Tropical Storm Maria, which was upgraded from a tropical depression a day earlier, is likely to be at its closest to Taiwan on July 10-11, the Central Weather Bureau forecast Thursday.
As of 8 a.m., Maria was centered 2,610 kilometers south-southeast off Eluanbi -- Taiwan's southernmost tip, moving at a speed of 16 kilometers per hour in a northwesterly direction, according to the weather bureau.
Maria continues to pick up strength and should increase in intensity later this evening, CWB forecaster Chang Hsin-hua (???) said.
The island's weather will not be impacted by the storm this week, Chang said.
Speaking about Maria's potential path, she said it would move in a westerly direction south of the Ryukyu islands if the Pacific high pressure system remains strong and be at its closest to Taiwan on July 10-11.
However, if the Pacific pressure is weak, the storm could move closer to Japan and away from Taiwan, she explained.
Meanwhile, Wu Der-rong (???), a professor of meteorology at National Central University, said the path of Maria remains uncertain and needs to be closely observed over the next few days.