Hagibis May Be The Strongest to Hit Tokyo Area【台風】

Courtesy: RAMMB/CIRA

Potentially historic typhoon Hagibis is creeping toward Japan while maintaining its powerful intensity. It could go down as the worst storm for central Japan including the Greater Tokyo area.


The Japan Meteorological Agency, or JMA, says Hagibis has sustained winds of 180kph as of Friday and rated it as a very strong typhoon, which is the second highest category on Japan’s typhoon scale. JMA forecasts that it will likely make landfall in central Japan’s Tokai or Kanto regions by Saturday evening with the same status. The pressure upon landfall could be as low as 950hPa or even lower.


Information added to the forecast track issued by JMA
Information added to the forecast track issued by JMA


Japan is frequently battered by typhoons but most of them pound the western regions, such as Kyushu and Shikoku. Statistically, 77% of the typhoons hit the west, and 23% batter the rest of Japan.

The most intense storm, in terms of low pressure, for the country is Typhoon Nancy in 1961, which had 925hPa upon landfall in Shikoku.

For the Tokai region, the record is Typhoon Tess in 1953 with 946 hPa. That typhoon killed over 400 people and injured almost 2,500. For the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo, the record is 960hPa. If the forecast is right, Hagibis could be written in the history book as the most powerful storm to make landfall in the Tokyo area.




With the low pressure, we might experience unprecedented strong winds. Wind gusts could be up to 216kph, which is equivalent to the winds of a maximum EF 2 tornado. These winds can batter power poles, shift the foundations of frame houses, and lift up vehicles. Even light objects could be blown like missiles.

What concerns us the most is that there are still areas reeling from the previous typhoon Faxai. Gusts of over 200kph left the area without power for over a week and tore off numerous roofs from houses.



Hagibis is not just a blustery storm, but also a huge storm. The area with winds in excess of 54kph is as large as 1,400km in diameter. The impact of the storm will last long, which in turn, will dump significant rainfall. JMA predicts the total rainfall into Saturday morning could be up to 1,000mm for Tokai and 750mm for Kanto. That would easily surpass a few months' worth of rainfall. The sewer system cannot keep up with rainfall at a rate of over 50mm and massive landslides with the collapse of beckrock could occur if the total rainfall is over 400mm.



Waves are expected to hit 13m, which is as high as four-story buildings. What makes matters even worse is the timing. Saturday is close to a full moon, which means the water levels will be higher than normal. If the arrival of the typhoon coincides with the high tide, destructive coastal flooding will occur.



We only have several hours before the peak of the storm. For those of you who live in Tokai and Kanto, today is the last chance to prepare for the typhoon. Electricity, water, phone and internet service might be cut off. Your house windows might be broken and your house may become flooded. Think about the worst case scenario and prepare for the unexpected.