A supertyphoon taking aim at Japan is seen as the biggest storm in years, and could end up being more powerful than even the destructive Hurricane Katrina.
Supertyphoon Neoguri is expected to reach Okinawa sometime early on Tuesday, generating winds that could reach more than 100 miles per hour. The storm is eventually expected to reach a Category 5, the highest on the scale measuring typhoons.
Directly in the path of the Japan supertyphoon is Kadena Air Base, the largest U.S. military base in the region. Authorities at the base said they are taking every precaution to stay safe.
“I can’t stress enough how dangerous this typhoon may be when it hits Okinawa,” Brig. Gen. James Hecker, the Commander of the 18th Wing, said Sunday on the base’s Facebook page. “This is the most powerful typhoon forecast to hit the island in 15 years.”
The Japanese Meteorological Agency said the supertyphoon may bring a slew of dangers to Okinawa.
“In these regions, there is a chance of the kinds of storms, high seas, storm surges and heavy rains that you’ve never experienced before,” a JMA official told a news conference. “This is an extraordinary situation, where a grave danger is approaching.”
The Japan supertyphoon is expected to hit the mainland with a bit less strength, but forecasters said it still has the potential to do great damage.
This week, astronaut Reid Wiseman helped capture the scale of the Japan supertyphoon. He took a shot from high above the earth’s surface, showing the swirling storm system taking up the entire view.
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) July 5, 2014
There are also worries that the Japan supertyphoon could bring even greater consequences. Kyushu, the nation’s westernmost main island, is home to two nuclear plants and lies directly in the path of the storm.