The second-largest tropical cyclone on record, Typhoon Lan, made landfall early on Monday, leaving 7 people dead and 100 injured as it passed near Tokyo. The storm was fueled by warm sea surface temperatures (86ºF/30ºC), and caused extensive flooding and mudslides, dumping nearly 32 inches of rain over 48 hours on Wakayama Prefecture alone.
Typhoon Lan (called Typhoon Paolo in the Philippines) is now the second largest typhoon on record, tied with 1979’s Hurricane Tip for the largest diameter, having grown to 1,380 miles (2,220 kilometers) wide by October 22 — roughly the distance between New York City and Dallas, Texas — with a 60-mile (95 kilometer) wide eye. Although the two storms were the same size, Lan did not reach Tip’s ferocity, with wind speeds of 110 mph (175 km/h), compared to Tip’s 160 mph (260 km/h) winds.
This phenomenon is similar in scope to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, a storm that reached a diameter of 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers). By their very nature, typhoons in the West Pacific tend to be larger than their hurricane counterparts in the Atlantic, due to their access to larger stretches of typically warmer water.