A super typhoon is due to hit South Korea and Japan in the coming days, potentially bringing devastation to the two countries. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) predicts Haishen will pass across the country’s southwestern islands on Sunday local time as a “very strong” to “violent” typhoon, which are the two highest categories on its storm rating scale.
Super Typhoon Haishen is following the path of Typhoon Maysak, which hit South Korea early Thursday local time.
Typhoon Maysak claimed a cargo ship carrying 43 crew and almost 6,000 cattle off the coast of Japan.
One lucky survivor who was plucked from the water by the Japanese coastguard said the boat lost an engine in the rough seas brought by the storm.
Haishen will, therefore, be the second typhoon to make landfall there and in southwestern Japan in the space of a week.
It would also be the fifth typhoon to strike there this season, which would be a new record, according to NHK World meteorologist Sayaka Mori as well as a historical storm database maintained by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Haishen is coming in over unusually warm waters of around 33C (88F) in the western Pacific Ocean, and has reached the equivalent of a Category 5 storm if measured by western standards.
These are some of the highest water temperatures recorded since records began in 1982.
The storm rapidly intensified over Thursday and is on the cusp of reaching Category 5.
Once this cycle is completed and the eyewall is fully rebuilt, the storm can ramp its intensity back up.
According to the JTWC, the storm is unlikely to weaken significantly until it begins to move over slightly cooler waters and encounters stronger upper-level winds.
This would alter its structure, potentially causing a slackening to the surface winds this weekend.
On Thursday, the agency official urged residents of Kyushu and Okinawa in Japan to brace for the storm.
An official said: “People in affected areas should not hesitate to evacuate their homes and find shelter, even though they may be worried about becoming infected with the new coronavirus.”
A typhoon is a tropical cyclone – a storm system that spins in a circle. A cyclone is known as a typhoon if it forms in the north west Pacific.
Cyclones can also be known as hurricanes, tropical storms, depressions and cyclonic storms, depending on which ocean they form over and how severe they become.
A super typhoon is a storm that reaches sustained windspeeds of at least 150mph.