【台風19号】Four Reasons Why Hagibis Will Be Dangerous

Typhoon Hagibis (Courtesy: NOAA)

This year’s most powerful typhoon, Hagibis, is inching toward Japan.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Hagibis is categorized as a violent typhoon, which is the highest category on the Japan’s typhoon scale. (As of Thursday, its central pressure: 915hPa, sustained winds: 198kph).

JMA predicts Hagibis could weaken slightly as it churns over cooler waters and be over or near the Greater Tokyo area on Saturday evening as a very strong typhoon, the second highest category. The area will start to see waves and rain intensifying on Friday.


Information added on JMA's forecast track
Information added on JMA's forecast track

Japan is a typhoon-ready nation

Statistically, Japan is the 3rd most typhoon-prone country in Asia with 11 typhoons approaching and 2 directly hitting the land each year. Japan is a typhoon-ready nation, but still Hagibis is threatening many people in Japan. JMA had an unusually early press conference to warn people, and TVs are giving typhoon coverage almost all day.


Four reasons why Hagibis is so dangerous

So, why is Typhoon Hagibis so special? Here are the four reasons why Hagibis could become a destructive storm:


IR satellite of Hagibis (10/9) Courtesy: JMA
IR satellite of Hagibis (10/9) Courtesy: JMA

1. Size

As shown on the satellite, Hagibis has a large area of clouds. The diameter of the windy area with speed of over 54 kph are 1,400 km, which is almost half the length of the Japanese archipelago. With the huge size, stormy conditions will start earlier, last longer, and affect wider areas.


2. Strength

Hagibis has a central pressure of 915hPa as of Thursday, making it one the most intense tropical systems on earth this year.

When it explosively developed near the Northern Mariana Islands, the central pressure plummeted from 992hPa to 915hPa within 24 hours. According to Digital Typhoon, this is the 9th-most rapid intensification in recorded history.

JMA forecasts the pressure could be 950hPa when it will be near Japan on Saturday. If Hagibis makes landfall in the Greater Tokyo area with that strength, it would be the strongest on record for the region.


3. Timing

What makes Hagibis even more scary is the timing of its landfall.

This coming weekend when Hagibis is projected to hit Japan, we will be in a full moon phase, meaning the water level at sea will be higher than normal. The combination of the high tide, giant waves and storm surges could bring a significant risk of coastal flooding.


4. Place

Hagibis could bring a second punch to the Greater Tokyo area in a month.

Typhoon Faxai battered the region as the strongest storm to do so on record early September, causing record-shattering 207 kph gusts in Chiba Prefecture. At least 3 people have been killed, hundreds of thousands of households remained without power for over a week and numerous homes lost roofs. There are still many houses with blue tarps on their roofs and people still in shelters.


Impact on the Rugby World Cup

The storm is causing a headache for rugby fans.

Seven Rugby World Cup matches are scheduled to take place this coming weekend. Officials are considering cancellations of the matches or change of the venues for safety reasons. No Rugby World Cup matches in the past have been cancelled due to inclement weather.


Stay updated

For those of you who are in the typhoon threat zone, keep up to date on the latest information on Hagibis.

Here are some useful links to get the typhoon updates:


JMAWebsite for typhoon forecast

NHK WORLD JAPAN's special page for typhoon

JR EASTandWESTwebsite for traffic information

TOURISM AGENCY's alert application

JNTO's 24 hour visitor hotline

RUBGY WORLD CUP's official site