Typhoon Vongfong Hits Okinawa, Heads For Japanese Mainland

The dreaded Typhoon Vongfong has finally made its way to the islands of Japan, striking the coast of Okinawa. Arriving shortly after the immense Typhoon Phanfone, Japan is enduring a second wave of powerful winds and water.

According to AccuWeather, Vongfong means “the wasp” in Cantonese. The typhoon began its path of destruction in the northern Mariana Islands on Sunday with average wind gusts over 55 miles per hour and rainfall over 3 inches. Vongfong was quickly classified as a super typhoon, having reached the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, and it was on its way to Japan.

“Vongfong became the strongest tropical cyclone we’ve had all year anywhere on Earth,” said Meteorologist Jim Andrews.

Typhoon Vongfong had winds recorded as fast as 160 miles per hour. Fortunately, Typhoon Vongfong has slowed down a bit to an average wind speed of 126 miles per hour, but it could still cause incredible amounts of damage and life-threatening situations.

Japan has already been experiencing intermittent power outages, with more on the way. Typhoon Vongfong is expected to have the greatest effect on Kyushu, Shikoku and southern Honshu.

“As Vongfong approaches Okinawa and Kadena Air Force Base during the day Saturday, it will lash the island with increasing winds and torrential rainfall,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Ed Vallee.

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According to Mashable, the destruction has already begun. Typhoon Vongfong made a direct hit on the island of Okinawa, which contains thousands of United States military personnel. Typhoon Vongfong is expected to strike the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa by Saturday night, just as the storm’s winds intensify to 74 miles per hour.

From here, Typhoon Vongfong is expected to blow through the remainder of the Ryukyu Islands and continue on to the Japanese mainland, potentially bringing destruction as it goes.

Added to the rainfall of Typhoon Phanfone, Vongfong could cause a considerable amount of flash flooding in southwest Japan. The heavy rain could also result in dangerous mudslides across the mainland and nearby islands.

“Destructive winds and flooding rain will be the top threats,” said Jim Andrews. “The threats are the same as they were with Phanfone. There are some likenesses but also some differences in Phanfone’s track. The results can vary markedly with small differences in track and storm speed.”

Meteorologists anticipate that Typhoon Vongfong will hit Tokyo early on Tuesday local time. By then, Typhoon Vongfong could evolve into a weaker tropical storm or a hybrid storm with some non-tropical characteristics.

As if Typhoon Vongfong and Typhoon Phanfone weren’t enough, Japan has also seen a slew of deadly volcano eruptions this week.

[Image courtesy of Mashable]