While Super Typhoon Hagibis, currently on track to strike the city of Tokyo, isn’t the strongest tropical cyclone on record, is certainly massive, and at 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) wide, the storm is larger than Japan itself—literally, it is expected to engulf the entirety of the island nation as it passes over. The Japan Meteorological Agency has classified the storm as “violent”, their highest strength classification for a tropical storm.
Although Hagibis has weakened from its peak on October 7, it intensified explosively on that day in only a matter of hours, jumping from being a severe tropical storm to a Category-5 super typhoon with one-minute sustained wind speeds of 260 km/h (160 mph), and a central pressure that dipped as low as 900 hPa—10 hPa lower than Hurricane Dorian’s pressure when it devastated the Bahamas.
Sustained winds of over 240 km/h (150 mph) are forecast to hit Tokyo when the storm makes landfall, making Hagibis the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.
Hagibis is also striking Japan during a full moon, so the expected high tides will exacerbate an already strong storm surge, forecast to be up to 13 meters (42.7 feet) high, a recipe for floods that could devastate parts of Japan’s coastline.
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