Super Typhoon Hagibis, packing winds of 150 mph, may impact Tokyo
Packing winds of 150 mph, Hagibis, the behemoth super typhoon crashing through the northwest Pacific, could impact Japan as the equivalent of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane this weekend.
Tokyo, home to more than 9 million people, is preparing for wind gusts approaching 100 mph; the system is predicted to make landfall somewhere in Japan on Saturday. Hagibis — whose name is a Filipino word meaning “velocity” or “swiftness” — has been at super-typhoon strength for three straight days.
On Monday, the world watched as Hagibis intensified at one of the strongest clips on record, metastasizing from a tropical storm to the equivalent of a Category 5 in a day’s time. That marked a 90 mph jump in just 18 hours — more than three times the rate a storm would have to strengthen to meet the criteria for “rapid intensification.” It is the fastest jump in strength of any storm in that part of the world in more than 20 years, and probably one of the fastest intensification rates on record worldwide.
Violent Typhoon Hagibis is heading towards Japan and is forecast to make landfall in southern Honshu on Saturday afternoon/evening local time.
With wind speeds in excess of 100mph, torrential rain and large waves, this powerful storm is expected to bring major disruption.
BBC Weather's Simon King looks at the potential impacts.
Japan's airlines are reportedly suspending all domestic flights operating from Tokyo's airports along with Japanese Railway companies, which are mulling over a temporary shut down of train traffic in the Greater Tokyo as Hagibis typhoon is set to hit the country this weekend.
The Japan Meteorological Agency earlier described the impending storm as "violent". On Friday, Japanese meteorologists warned that Hagibis forecasted to be the most powerful typhoon to barrel over Tokyo since 1958. As Japan braces for potential damage from powerful Super Typhoon Hagibis, two Rugby World Cup matches scheduled for this weekend were canceled along with Formula One qualifying race in the Suzuka Circuit, where the Japanese Grand Prix is being held.
Hagibis is reportedly expected to hit western and eastern parts of Japan between Saturday and Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency warned earlier. The authorities have urged people to take precautions with the super typhoon approaching.
According to the forecast, local residents could see gusts of up to 140 mph (225 km), along with torrential rains and a risk of flash flooding.
Local media claim, citing meteorologists, that Hagibis could be more destructive than a typhoon that killed more than 1,000 people in 1958.