For the second time in 5 weeks, the Tokyo metropolitan area will be hit head-on by a strong typhoon; American military bases, including the large Yokosuka Naval Base are expecting a direct-impact. Typhoon Hagibis, downgraded from a potent category 5 super typhoon but still described by Japanese forecasters as a “large and extremely strong” storm, is chugging along toward eastern Japan, where another landfall is due on Saturday.
In the latest update from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Hagibis was located approximately 406 miles south-southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Maximum sustained winds are at 132 mph with gusts to 161 mph, making the storm a major Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Typhoons are just like hurricanes except typhoon is the name given to these types of tropical cyclones when they are west of the International Date Line in the western Pacific.
If Hagibis continues on its currently forecast track, it is expected to curve northeast starting early Saturday morning and push through the metro Tokyo area by Saturday evening. The center of the storm is expected to pass within 17 miles of Yokosuka Naval Base, 13 miles southeast of Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Camp Zama, and 17 miles southeast of Yokota Air Base. At the time the storm passes through the American military bases, it is expected to be a Category 2 hurricane with Category 3 wind gusts. In early September, Typhoon Faxai hit the same general area, killing 3, creating substantial damage, and stranding more than 100,000 travelers at Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports.
American military bases along the Kanto Plain are expected to close for the weekend. For now, Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2 has been declared; they should be upgraded to Readiness 1 as the storm approaches.
Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports are expected to close; All-Nippon Airways and Japan Air Lines have already announced cancelled service for the weekend.