The southern islands of Okinawa are bracing for a predicted typhoon expected to be the worst in the island's history, according to a July 7 report from the Japan Meteorological Agency published on ABC News. That's because the waves could get as tall as 46 feet and winds up to 123 miles per hour.
But on Monday morning the Weather Channel reported that the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center had estimated that the winds from typhoon Neoguri had reached 150 miles per hour. And that makes this typhoon comparable to a category 4 hurricane, also prompting the addition of the term "super" in the title of the storm's name.
By Monday evening Neoguri could become a category 5 tropical cyclone. And that is why the meteorological agency has warned residents to prepare for the worst, especially in Miyako Island area, where residents are expected to see a 4-foot storm surge as well as the potential 46-foot tall waves.
Super Typhoon Neoguri could be devastating to property and lives if it lives up to its expectations, and an official with the meteorological agency has advised residents in a warning to refrain from nonessential activities outdoors.
We issue special warnings when we anticipate immense damage of a scale only seen every few decades," one official told the Wall Street Journal.
Typhoons typically hit Japan between May and October, with August and September being the worst times of the year for this weather concern, according to the Japan Guide, reporting that typically on seven or eight of the 30 formed actually pass over the Okinawa Prefecture (district).
Landslides and the sudden rise of water levels are some of the most dangerous aspects of a typhoon. And in Okinawa, those at the U.S. Kadena Air Base are not taking the storm lightly, with Brig. Gen. James Hecker posted this statement on the military base's website:
I can't stress enough how dangerous this typhoon may be when it hits Okinawa. This is the most powerful typhoon forecast to hit the island in 15 years; we expect damaging winds to arrive by early Tuesday morning."
In preparation for the coming storm, the base is shoring up bags of sand to help deflect some of the expected high water levels, among other precautionary steps.
Given that typhoons tend to be milder at the start of the season, typically only growing stronger as the season moves on, Super Typhoon Neoguri may be the harbinger of far worse storms to come. Its predecessor this year thus far, typhoon Faxai, only reached 75 mph winds in early March.