- The typhoon southwest of Japan on Monday, July 18, 2011.
What is behind the once-so-promising Typhoon Ma-on's recent weakening? According to the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the whirling weathermaker's gigantic scale is hobbling its efforts to strengthen, as is an "eyewall replacement cycle that turned out to be slow and inefficient." Those things have allowed the typhoon's ragged eye to rip apart and allow in masses of clouds.
Even though Ma-on (uh, "be on" in Filipino?) isn't the slashing typhoon it could have been, it's still in the heavyweight category. In the NOAA image above from today, the sluggish system is seen beating the coast of Kyushu with gale-force winds extending about 200 miles from the typhoon center. In the U.S., it would be considered a Category 2-strength hurricane. Ma-on's expected track still takes it all along the southeast coast of Honshu this week; view it here.