Super Typhoon Neoguri has continued to rapidly strengthen over the past couple of days and is now a super typhoon with sustained winds of 155 mph. This is only 1 mph shy of being a category 5 hurricane, and additional strengthening is very possible. Given that the waters are very warm over where Neoguri is tracking and wind shear is going to remain light, this storm will be able to maintain its strength as it moves northwest. It will eventually start to make a turn north and northeast as it gets pulled in by a trough of low pressure to its northwest.
Okinawa, the location of the United States’ Kadena Air Force Base, is currently right in the path of this super typhoon and will likely experience sustained winds between 140 to 150+ mph and gusts as high as 180 to 190 mph. Latest model guidance has this storm going just west of the island, but the northeast quadrant of a hurricane is the worst part of the storm. This quadrant of the storm typically produces the highest storm surge, the heaviest rains, and the strongest winds. As Neoguri passes near or over Okinawa, it will likely be a category 5 hurricane.
As Neoguri begins to turn northeastward towards Kyushu Island, it will retain a good bit of its strength and will likely still be around a category 3 hurricane when it makes landfall on Kyushu Island. This will still produce very high storm surge, destructive winds, and very heavy rainfall, particularly on the south side of the island.
Let’s hope that the worst of the storm stays off Okinawa and that this typhoon weakens as it moves northeast towards the main island of Japan. Like I’ve said before, forecasting hurricanes/typhoons are tricky, and the forecasts are always subject to change. Always prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. Please like Firsthand Weather on Facebook, where I’ll have continuous coverage on this powerful typhoon.