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 map of future climate risks in the U.S.
    Maps

    America After Climate Change, Mapped

    With “The 2100 Project: An Atlas for A Green New Deal,” the McHarg Center tries to visualize how the warming world will reshape the United States.

  2. photo: an Uber driver.
    Perspective

    Did Uber Just Enable Discrimination by Destination?

    In California, the ride-hailing company is changing a policy used as a safeguard against driver discrimination against low-income and minority riders.

  3. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  4. photo: Robert Marbut, the incoming director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness,
    Equity

    The Consultant Leading the White House Push Against Homelessness

    In Texas and Florida, Robert Marbut Jr. sold cities on a controversial model for providing homeless services. Now he’s bringing it to the White House.

  5. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.
    Life

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

×