By Eric Leister
Neoguri, once a super typhoon, still poses a serious threat to lives and property in Japan.
Neoguri intensified into a super typhoon early Monday morning local time (Sunday afternoon EDT). Winds peaked at 250 kph (155 mph) before the typhoon began to weaken. Currently Neoguri remains a powerful typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 205 kph (125 mph).
Dry air that wrapped into the system on Monday caused the storm’s intensity to slip slightly.
The typhoon will continue to pass through an area of very warm water and low wind shear (strong winds above the surface that can shred tropical systems apart) over the next 12 hours which will keep the cyclone from varying much in strength.
Residents and visitors in the path of this dangerous cyclone should already be taking the necessary preparations and heed all evacuation orders.
The Associated Press reported early Tuesday morning that nearly 539,000 people were advised to evacuate their homes.
Although Neoguri weakened from its peak intensity it still slammed parts of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan with winds over 160 kph (100 mph) on Tuesday. Tokashiki reported wind gusts to near 195 kph (120 mph)
Waves reached heights of up to 14 meters (46 feet), according to the Associated Press. At least 10 people have been injured by the storm across Okinawa, where nearly 600,000 were advised to evacuate prior to the cyclone’s arrival.
Neoguri passed only 75-100 miles west of Okinawa Tuesday. Winds also gusted to 160 kph (100 mph) at Kedena Air Base while more than 150 mm (6 inches) fell at Naha.
The life-threatening and devastating impacts will gradually taper off across Okinawa late Tuesday night. Meanwhile, dangerous conditions are expected across the northern Ryukyu Islands and southern Kyushu into Wednesday as the cyclone moves northward.
Neoguri will continue northward before making a sharp turn toward southern Japan with landfall on Kyushu Island anticipated for Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
While no longer a super typhoon, Neoguri is still expected to be a typhoon when it reaches Kyushu, although it will be weakening due to cooler waters and increased wind shear. Land interaction will then cause Neoguri to weaken rapidly as it crosses Japan, but that does not mean that residents should let their guard down.
Making matters worse, parts of Kyushu received more than 150 mm (6 inches) of rain on Monday as a fast-moving area of low pressure passed through the area. This will also lead to a higher threat for flooding and mudslides.
The worst of the storm surge will target western and southern parts of Kyushu, but all coastal communities along the southern and eastern coast of mainland Japan will experience an increase in water levels and extremely rough surf.
Despite anticipated weakening, heavy rain from Neoguri will bring concerns for major flooding across parts of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Mountainous locations will be most susceptible to the highest rain totals and mudslide threat.
Flooding may also develop across the island of Hokkaido, even if the center of Neoguri stays well to the south. The interaction of moisture from Neoguri and a cold front will lead to torrential rain Thursday night through Friday across eastern Hokkaido.
“By the time all is said and done, localized rainfall amounts in excess of 380 mm (15 inches) will slam parts of Japan with the most likely locations being the Ryukyu Islands, Kyushu, Shikoku, and eastern Honshu,” stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Evan Duffey.
“Wind damage will be widespread, especially over the Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu. Port cities and low-lying areas will be inundated by storm surge.”
Tokyo is expected to escape the worst of Neoguri but will still be soaked by some rain later in the week. Coastal suburbs should brace for rough surf and coastal flooding.
South Korea should also narrowly miss the worst of the rain and wind from Neoguri. However, the outermost rain bands of the typhoon should still graze and drench the southern coast at midweek with pounding surf also developing.
“The island of Jeju in the Korea Strait will likely see the worst impacts for South Korea. With the storm just off to the south, the island will certainly see strong winds, along with very rough surf and some downpours,” added Duffey.
Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski contributed to this story.
More at AccuWeather: Powerful Typhoon Neoguri to Target Japan