Suomi NPP/NASA

All eyes in Japan are on Super Typhoon Neoguri, a tremendous storm set to create 40-foot-tall waves.

Airports have shut down and at least 500,000 people have received evacuation advisories in southern Japan due to this: a monster storm throwing 40-foot-waves in the Pacific called Super Typhoon Neoguri.

A "super typhoon" is a typhoon so powerful its maximum sustained winds hit 150 mph or higher, equivalent to the fury of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane in the Atlantic. Neoguri had supersized itself with 150-mph winds when the Suomi NPP satellite snapped the above image of the tempest approaching Okinawa on Tuesday afternoon, Japanese time. From there, it's expected to make a beeline for Kyushu, perhaps growing even more ferocious for a quick spell thanks to supportive winds and warm ocean waters.

Neoguri is tremendous enough that its clearly defined eye is visible from space, as seen in this shot from astronaut Reid Wiseman:

Forecasters predict that the super typhoon will lose some of its punch by the time it reaches mainland Japan, but that it still could hit the coast with substantial and dangerous strength. That's a problem for cities that've recently been drenched with seasonal storms, as the sodden ground is primed for flooding and mudslides. Jeff Masters at the Weather Underground has given a dire scenario for how that might effect what happens in the days ahead:

Neoguri has been caught by a trough of low pressure and is headed for the Japanese island of Kyushu, where the city of Nagasaki lies. Nagasaki had upwards of 8 inches of rain on Thursday, and parts of Kyushu saw 10 inches of rain on Friday, thanks to a stalled stationary front over the island. With the soils already saturated from these heavy rains, the torrential rains from Neoguri are sure to cause major flooding on Wednesday and Thursday. ... Although ocean temperatures will cool and wind shear will rise as Neoguri approaches Japan, weakening the storm, the typhoon is so large and powerful that it will likely make landfall with at least Category 2 strength, causing major damage in Japan.

Neoguri, whose name means "raccoon dog" in Korean, is primed to be "one of the strongest [storms] to hit Japan in decades, generating waves up to 14 meters (46 feet) high," according to ABC News. But if there's one thing the perennially sea-battered country is good at doing, it's using strong social and infrastructural measures to protect against typhoons. So here's hoping the superbeast limps off into the Pacific without any major damage done. 

These are a couple more satellite images of the storm from Monday night, U.S. time:

MTSAT
CIMSS/University of Wisconsin-Madison

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a WeWork office building
    Life

    What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

    The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

  2. Uber Eats worker
    Life

    The Millennial Urban Lifestyle Is About to Get More Expensive

    As WeWork crashes and Uber bleeds cash, the consumer-tech gold rush may be coming to an end.

  3. James Mueller (left) talks to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (right)
    Equity

    South Bend’s Mayoral Election Could Decide More than Pete Buttigieg's Replacement

    Pete Buttigieg's former chief of staff, James Mueller, is vying with a Republican challenger to be the next mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. A man wearing a suit and tie holds an American flag at a naturalization ceremony.
    Life

    The New Geography of American Immigration

    The foreign-born population has declined in U.S. states that voted Democratic in 2016, and increased in states and metros that voted for Trump.

×