A super-typhoon in the Pacific Ocean could hit Japan on Saturday and potentially cause severe damage to Tokyo, experts said.
D The center of super typhoon Hagibis lay approximately 950 miles south of Tokyo Thursday morning local time, according to Brandon Bukunt, a National Weather Service Meteorologist in Tiyan, Guam ,
The storm moved north about nine miles an hour and was expected to drive past Japan's east coast on Saturday night, he said. The satellite's fastest sustained winds of the storm were 1
The storm is expected to weaken as the wind nears Japan. Mr. Bukunt predicted there heavy rains that would start on late Friday or early Saturday. It is expected that the storm will undergo an "extra-tropical transition" in the next few days and become a major storm in the Bering Sea.
"It will also affect the west coast of the United States with big surf and Hawaii," he said.
The typhoon caused the cancellation of rugby World Cup games in Japan between England and France as well as Italy and New Zealand. For the first time games were canceled at the tournament. The canceled games are scored as goalless draws, with each team scoring two points in the pool standings.
It was unclear whether Sunday's game between Japan and Scotland in Yokohama – to determine who reached the quarter-finals – would be affected.
Jeff Masters, a scientific American meteorologist, said that if Hagibis acts as predicted, it may become one of the most damaging typhoons in Japanese history.
"If it hits Tokyo Bay, as some of the current forecasts say, then it will be a multi-billion dollar disaster," Dr. Masters.
Japan Rail announced that it will probably discontinue operation on several routes before the typhoon in Japan. Both Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways have announced that they will stop flights from Friday to Sunday.
It's been a month since Typhoon Fujitsu hit Japan, and some Chiba Prefecture buildings outside of Tokyo are still without electricity and many homes are damaged. Storms still cling to blue tarpaulins.
Last year Jebi, the worst typhoon in 25 years, killed 11 people, injured hundreds and caused estimated damages of $ 12.6 billion. It caused the government to evacuate about 49,000 people, and many others were led to flee.
More and more strong storms and heavy rainfall are generally associated with global warming. Masters said scientists have found that typhoons in the Northwest Pacific reach their maximum intensity farther north than before, increasing the risk to Japan. In a recent review of 11 hurricane scientists, nine came to the conclusion that the evidence suggests that man-made climate change has contributed to migration.
The term typhoon is used for storms that develop in the northwestern Pacific and usually threaten Asia. Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are actually the same – circular low pressure storm systems with wind speeds in excess of 74 miles per hour that form over warm water – but different terms are used worldwide.
Motoko Rich reported from Tokyo and Joe Ritchie from Hong Kong.