Typhoon Hagabi looms over Japan

Scott Morris, 12 October 2019

Japan braces itself as Typhoon Hagabi threatens heavy downpour and damaging winds. Evacuation advice has been issued with shops and transportation suspending operations for the day and photos painting a desolate picture of the usually bustling capital, Tokyo. 

Currently the typhoon is positioned less than 450km southwest of Tokyo and is moving northeast at about 24km/h. It is expected to make landfall near Tokyo this evening at 9pm JST (11pm EST). Hagabi is producing sustained winds of about 170km/h, gusting 200km/h and is producing significant wave heights of about 12m.

Significant damage from strong winds has already been felt by those in the Chiba prefecture, with damage to property and power outages increasing. As the system approaches land, the effects of strong winds, significant waves and heavy rainfall are only expected to escalate.

As Hagabi makes landfall, sustained winds should be around 150km/hr, with gusts of over 180km/h. Total rainfall should amount to 150-300mm across the Tokyo area, which could have some serious repercussions. Flash flooding and landslides are a major concern and with a number of rivers running through Tokyo and high tide approaching. The effects could be devastating, especially in eastern parts of the city.

Events scheduled for Saturday in Japan have been cancelled to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Two games of the 2019 Rugby World Cup have been cancelled, England vs France in Yokohama and Italy vs New Zealand in Toyota. Furthermore, the qualifying session for the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix has been delayed until Sunday, with the possibility of that being cancelled if the track remains too wet. Many other events, including a Backstreet Boys concert in Saitama on Sunday, have had the plug pulled.

Typhoon Hagabi is expected to continue moving northeast after it makes landfall, weakening as it moves along the coast. The effects could still be damaging, although should ease later on Sunday.