TOPTyphoon Neoguri Hits Okinawa with 14-Meter Waves

Typhoon Neoguri Hits Okinawa with 14-Meter Waves

By Alec Jordan

After battering the Ryukyu islands in southern Japan with heavy winds and rain, Neoguri moved on to Okinawa today, slamming the area with powerful winds and massive waves. It is expected to hit Kyushu area by Wednesday evening, and make its way—in a weakened form—to the area around Tokyo by Friday.

The typhoon hit Okinawa with sustained winds of 175 kph (108 mph) and gusts of up to 250 kph (154 mph), and also generated 14 meter (46 feet) high waves. The Japan Meteorological Agency reported that the storm could be one of the most powerful to hit Japan in decades. Almost 600,000 in Okinawa Prefecture were ordered to evacuate.

Officials have reported that ten people were injured in the storm. A 62-year-old fisherman from the island of Shikoku was found dead after being swept off of his boat by heavy, storm-generated waves. More than 100,000 homes in Okinawa had power knocked out as Neoguri passed through the area. TV broadcasts showed heavily damaged buildings, and flights and ferries serving the islands were canceled.

Neoguri (the name means raccoon in Korean) is predicted to make a sharp turn to the east after passing through Okinawa, and should make landfall on the island of Kyushu by Wednesday night. By that point the storm—which had reached super typhoon status early Monday morning before hitting the Ryukyus—will have weakened, but JMA official Satoshi Ebihara cautioned that Neoguri’s rain and heavy winds could still cause damage as it heads northward, particularly in areas of Kyushu that have already been drenched with heavy rainfall.

Powerful winds and heavy rain are expected around the Tokyo area on Thursday and Friday.

–Alec Jordan


Neoguri, Typhoon Neoguri, Japan Meteorological Agency