Update: Super Typhoon Hagibis Tracks Toward Japan; Guy Carpenter, RMS Comment

October 10, 2019

Super Typhoon Hagabis has been a category 5 for much of the first half of this week, but fortunately is forecast to weaken to a category 3 typhoon when it makes landfall in Japan on Saturday morning, Oct. 12, said Guy Carpenter’s report, “The Weather Sentinel.”

The storm is forecast to be the sixth typhoon of the 2019 season to directly hit Japan and one of the five strongest ever at category 3, said the report, noting that the track of Hagabis is very similar to that of Typhoon Faxai, which made landfall just east of Tokyo on Sept. 9, 2019.

Hagabis rapidly intensified in 24 hours from a tropical storm system on Sunday to a category 5 super typhoon on Monday, said the Carpenter report.

For the past 72 hours, Hagabis has maintained either high-end category 4 or category 5 strength, the report said, noting that the rate of strengthening for Hagabis is among the strongest ever recorded in the Pacific basin, although records are incomplete for the West Pacific.

As of Thursday evening, local time, Typhoon Hagabis remained a category 5 super typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 140 knots (161 mph), gusting to 170 knots (196 mph), with an exceptionally low central pressure of 904 millibars.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts Hagabis to maintain category 4 or 5 strength through Friday morning while approaching Japan, said Guy Carpenter. Once Hagabis clears the region of high ocean heat temperature, the report explained that wind shear should also start to disrupt Hagabis and turn the typhoon to the north and northeast Friday night. Currently, the forecast calls for landfall Saturday afternoon (local time Japan) as a category 3 typhoon.

If Hagabis behaves as forecast, its landfall could be historic for Tokyo, said the report, explaining that since 1950, only four typhoons have tracked at category 3 strength within 100 miles of Tokyo. These were Typhoon Ma-On in 2004, which made landfall further southwest over the city of Fujiomiya; Typhoon Lucy in 1965, and two typhoons named Ida (1958 and 1966).

Typhoon Faxai made landfall as a strong category 2 last month, while Typhoon Jebi from 2018 made landfall further south in Osaka as a borderline category 2 typhoon, said Carpenter.

Newark, Calif.-based catastrophe modeling company RMS said several scheduled services or events have been canceled or are expected to be canceled, including:

  • At least 1187 flights have been cancelled from Haneda and Narita airports in Tokyo,
  • Rail operators are expected to cancel or reduce train services during the passage of Hagibis, including commuter, bullet trains and the Tokyo subway,
  • The East Japan Railway Co. expects the possibility suspending conventional lines and Shinkansen on Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13,
  • Rugby World Cup matches scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12 have been called off,
  • Formula 1 has cancelled all activities at the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday Oct. 2,
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA) expects to cancel all flights on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Before heading to Japan, RMS said, Typhoon Hagibis passed north of the Mariana Islands between Monday, Oct. 7 and Tuesday, Oct. 8, which had the following effects:

  • The power supply on the island of Saipan was interrupted
  • A state of emergency was declared for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; schools, governmental offices and agencies were closed
  • The main damage from the passage of Hagibis appears to be fallen trees and branches, as well as flooding of roads with poor drainage according to news reports.

Source: Guy Carpenter, RMS

Photograph: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s satellite image of Typhoon Hagibis taken on Oct. 8, 2019. NOAA described Super Typhoon Hagibis as “currently the strongest storm on earth.”

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