Typhoon Hagibis threatens Japan


Typhoon Hagibis is the strongest and biggest hurricane to hit Japan since Typhoon Ida’s devastating arrival in 1958 which left 1,500 Japanese dead after a major river overflowed. A Category 5 hurricane, Hagibis is just one of only 18 such hurricanes of extreme intensity since 1958.

Cate Pallarco

As of this writing, Japan authorities have raised the highest level of alert especially on its capital Tokyo as Typhoon Hagibis barrels its way to the island nation today. A rare Category 5 hurricane, Hagibis is the largest and the strongest typhoon since Typhoon Ida which in 1958, left at least 1,500 Japanese dead and thousands injured.

Hagibis is headed towards Japan’s main island Honshu, where Japanese meteriologists expect it to dump tremendous volume of rainfall not seen since 1958. A Category 5 hurricane, the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission yesterday at 01:00 GMT (10:00 Japan Standard Time) estimated the eye of the storm at approximately 60 kilometres wide.

Photo courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency, 2019

Meteriologists say category 5 hurricanes pack sustained windspeed of at least 252 kilometres per hour over a 1-minute period, usually 10 meters above ground. Category 5 hurricanes are extremely rare. Since 1959, only 18 hurricanes are known to have reached Category 5 intensity.

The Japanese Meterological Agency described Hagibis as “very strong” and “large” with its direction and speed at North North East 30 kilometres per hour. It has a 85 kilometre maximum wind speed near its centre and maximum wind gusts speed of 120 kilometers.

As of 9 am today, Saturday, Hagibis is seen travelling north with wind speeds of about 20 kilometres per hour, some 260 kilometres southwest of Hachijo island.

It packs a wind speed of about 650 kilometres, with 370 kilometers East and 280 kilometres West. JMA says the projected path of Hagibis may cause severe damages especially to the Chiba Prefecture, which was recently hit by a tornado which destroyed a house and injured four people.

Prefectures in Central Japan such as Mie, Shizuoka and Kanagawa in the southwest have already alerted and gave evacuation advisories. Evacuation had begun in Tokyo as early as yesterday.

Hagibis is expected to bring winds of about 216 kph to the Tokai region in Central Japan and the Kanto-Koshin region, including Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. All flights going to and from Japan had been cancelled. Classes and malls are closed.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs had already issued advisories for Filipinos living in Japan to stay indoors and brace for the typhoon’s impact. More than 240,000 Filipinos live in various parts of the island nation.

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