Typhoon Hagibis Targets Japan!

By Meteo Expert Josef Lukas

As Typhoon Hagibis is heading towards Japan, the island nation is bracing for it’s impact. The storm is currently churning offshore, packing winds of 162kph, and is expected to make landfall late on Saturday night. Hagibis is very dangerous not just because of it’s strength, but it’s sheer size. It’s wind field spans 1400km, which is nearly half the length of Japan.

Before coming down to it’s current pressure of 943hPa, Hagibis went from 992hPa to 915hPa within 24 hours, making it the ninth most rapidly intensifying storm in recorded history, and one of the most intense tropical cyclones of 2019. Forecasts are calling for Hagibis to have a central pressure of 950hPa as it makes landfall near Tokyo. If this occurs, it would be the strongest storm to ever hit that region.

Hagibis has potential to break records as it is expected to bring wind gusts of up to 216kph, 300-500mm of rain, with some spots seeing up to 800mm, and devastating storm surge, with water levels possibly reaching as high as 13m. If those effects weren’t bad enough, the storm will make landfall during a full moon phase, which will lead to higher than normal tides, and only exacerbate the coastal flooding.

Although Japan is no stranger to typhoons, with 11 typhoons approaching, and two directly hitting the country on average every year, Hagibis is coming on the heels of Typhoon Faxai, which struck the region last month. That storm brought record breaking gusts of 207kph, several people were killed, and hundreds of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. Many residents remain in shelters, while numerous homes still have plastic tarps in place as makeshift roofs.

In preparation of the storm, flights have been canceled, trains halted, and both the Rugby World Cup and Japanese Grand Prix, have postponed games until Sunday. Supermarket shelves have been completely wiped out as shoppers stock up on supplies to get them through the storm.