A super typhoon barrelling across the northwestern Pacific Ocean towards Japan. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said Typhoon Hagibis “could be the strongest to hit Japan this year”. It is expected to reach 160mph as it slams Japan over the weekend.
The extremely dangerous Super Typhoon Hagibis is tracking across the northwestern Pacific Ocean having ramped up from a tropical storm to a super typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 160mph in less than 24 hours.
Super Typhoon Hagibis is located at latitude 18.5 north, longitude 141.8 east and is moving northwestwards at 13mph (11kts).
As of 1pm BST, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center recorded the wind speeds as 155mph (135kts).
The storm is expected to strengthen in the next 24 hours hitting 161mph before it weakens back to 155mph over the next 36 hours.
The current strength of the storm makes it equivalent to a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, very close to the boundary of a Category 5 which is where winds reach 157mph or more.
At this intensity catastrophic damage will occur.
This means a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse, fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas.
Additionally, power outages will last for weeks to possibly months and most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
The storm is expected to continue its track northwards before it veers northeastwards.
Currently, mainland Japan is the area which appears to be most at risk of a direct impact from the super typhoon.
The exact track of the storm is unclear so far, but it is believed Honshu will be the worst-hit.
The latest projections take the eye of the storm right over Tokyo at about 6pm GMT (7pm BST) on Saturday.
It is expected the storm will be equivalent to Category 2 strength by then with winds reaching 98mph (85kts).
Super Typhoon Hagibis is currently categorised as violent, which is the JMA’s highest classification.
Strong gusts peaking at 195mph were recorded on Tuesday, and although Hagibis is forecast to weaken ahead of landfall, it is predicted to remain a powerful storm.
Hagibis is the 20th storm in the region thi season and has been recorded as one of the most rapid intensifications of any storm on record.
Only Hurricane Patricia in october 2015 and Wilma in 2005 are known to have intensified more quickly.
It is possible that the typhoon will affect the Rugby World Cup, particularly two games scheduled to take place in Yokohama over the weekend.
The affected matches will be England versus France and Japan versus Scotland, due to be held on Saturday at 5.15pm and Sunday at 7.45pm.
Heavy rainfall is expected over the weekend with seven to 12 inches of rainfall expected to batter the region.
Strong winds, large waves and storm surges are also expected in addition to the torrential downpours, which may result in flash flooding and possible mudslides.