After lashing eastern Japan with strong winds from Sunday into Monday, and dumping more than 150 millimeters (6 inches) of rain, Typhoon Phanfone moved through the region.
A deluge hit Tokyo, and officials measured 272 millimeters (10.71 inches) of rain, after moisture from the storm interacted with a stalled front, prolonging the rain.
Almost exactly one week after Phanfone, Tokyo is threatened by Super Typhoon Vongfong as it turns northward across the western Pacific Ocean.
Vongfong already brought flooding rainfall, up to 75 millimeters (3 inches) and damaging winds, as it hit the northern Mariana Islands on Sunday hast week. Wind gusts were measured over 89 kph (55 mph).
Vongfong has picked up power and is almost equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane, according to Accuweather, as sustained winds reach 250 kph (155 mph).
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jim Andrews said “Vongfong became the strongest tropical cyclone we’ve had all year anywhere on Earth.”
So strong was Vongfong this week, Accuweather reported, that it even surpassed Super Typhoon Genevieve which, at its most powerful, had sustained winds of 257 kph (160 mph) in the West Pacific.
Helping Vongfong to become a monster was relatively light wind shear and warm water. This combination allowed the storm to rapidly strengthen as it crossed the western Pacific Ocean.
Late this week, while south of Japan, the typhoon is expected to slow and turn to the north. Accuweather said the exact track of the storm is still uncertain, but it is expected to head north towards Japan. There is potential for a landfall in mainland Japan by early next week.
“Destructive winds and flooding rain will be the top threats.” – AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jim Andrews.
The first prospective target is expected to be the northern Ryukyu Islands. They could begin to feel the impact of Vongfong as early as Saturday.
“It’s not out of the question that the storm gets hooked westward, making direct landfall on one or more of the northern or central Ryukyu islands late Saturday into Sunday, local time,” Andrews said. “That would mean typhoon-force winds and flooding rain.”
Mainland Japan is likely to take the brunt of the storm between Monday and Tuesday, when typhoon-force winds and inundating rainfall is expected.
Accuweather.com’s Andrews says the landfall point is likely to determine how far west Vongfong is able to go. If there is a direct landfall in the island of Kyushu, it will run through cities such as Kagoshima.
As Vongfong passes over land and cooler water on Tuesday, it should weaken and pull away from central Japan.
The areas at risk from Vongfong are the same ones that were hit by Typhoon Phanfone, and Tokyo could receive several inches of rain.