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Typhoon Haishen threatens Japan with High Winds

Typhoon Haishen has moved closer to Japan’s southern mainland, urging the authorities to evacuations and warn of possible record flooding, extreme waves, high tides and large ocean swells. According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA), authorities have called for early evacuation of more than 100,000 households in the southern prefectures of Okinawa, Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Nagasaki.
The typhoon has cut power to more than 3,000 homes in Okinawa, the southernmost island prefecture, and more than 8,000 homes in Amamioshima, according to NHK. The typhoon is forecast to have an atmospheric pressure of 935 Hecto pascals at its centre, and sustained winds of up to 234 kilometres per hour (145 miles per hour) by Monday, the meteorological agency said.

Haishen, currently equivalent to a powerful Category 2 storm, is located approximately 400 km (260 miles) south of Sasebo on the island of Kyushu, moving northwest at 30 km/h (20 mph). The storm is forecast to move west of Kyushu at any time between 12:00-18:00 GMT on Sunday and is likely to lose some strength as it reaches southwest Japan.

Haishen is expected to be further downgraded by the time it arrives at 150 km / h (90 mph) of wind, equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane. It is forecasted to reach the Korean Peninsula early on Monday morning. Meanwhile, on Sunday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with related cabinet ministers to discuss the emergency response to the typhoon, said his office. “Maximum caution is needed as record rain, violent winds, high waves and high tides are possible,” he said. “I ask the Japanese people, including those who live in high-risk areas for flooding rivers or high tides to stay informed and take action immediately to ensure their safety.”

What is Typhoon?
A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone, which occurs in the Northern Hemisphere between 180 ° and 100 ° E. This region is known as the Northwest Pacific Basin and is the most active tropical cyclone basin on Earth, accounting for nearly one-third of the world’s annual tropical cyclones. For organizational purposes, the northern Pacific Ocean is divided into three regions: the eastern (North America to 140 ° W), the central (140 ° W to 180 ° F) and the western (180 ° to 100 ° F).

The Regional Specialist Meteorological Center (RSMC) for tropical cyclone forecasts is in Japan, with other Tropical cyclone warning centres in Hawaii (the Joint Typhoon Warning Center), the Philippines and Hong Kong for the northwest Pacific. There are no official typhoon seasons inside the northwest Pacific, as tropical cyclones develop throughout the year. There are few requirements for typhoon formation and development, as for any tropical Cyclone:
• Sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures
• Atmospheric instability
• High humidity in the lower to middle levels of the troposphere
• Enough Coriolis Effect to develop a low-pressure centre
• A pre-existing low-level focus or disturbance
• A low vertical wind shear.

While most storms develop between June and November, between December and May, a few storms do occur. The Northwest Pacific on average contains the world’s most frequent and powerful tropical cyclones. Like other basins, they are steered towards the west or northwest by the subtropical ridge, with some systems occurring south and east of Japan. The Philippines is getting the brunt of the landfalls, with China and Japan being slightly less affected. Some of history’s deadliest typhoons have smitten China. Southern China has the region’s longest record of typhoon impacts, with a thousand-year history within its documents via archives. So far Taiwan has received the wettest known typhoon on record for the northwest Pacific tropical cyclone basins.

By Jumana Jabeer

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