Typhoon Halong Moves Toward Japan; Major Flood Threat (FORECAST)

Latest Infrared Satellite

Latest Infrared Satellite

(SOURCE)  Typhoon Halong, which recently became the third super typhoon of 2014 in the Western Pacific basin, is now moving north toward areas of Japan that have already seen as much as 54 inches of rain in the past six days.

While Halong has long lost its super typhoon status, it is again restrengthening.

Halong is now the equivalent of a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with maximum one-minute sustained winds of 105 mph as of 5 p.m. EDT (U.S. time) Wednesday, according to the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

After experiencing some wind shear and restricted outflow in its northern half Tuesday, it appears that wind shear has lessened, and the structure of the eyewall has improved. Halong should hold steady or possibly intensify a little bit more through Thursday, before increasing wind shear and cooler water begin to take their toll as it approaches the Japanese mainland late Friday into Saturday.

Halong is moving toward the north-northeast on a path that will keep the center east of the Ryukyu Islands of far southern Japan, including Okinawa, through Friday.

However, Halong will come close enough to have some effect on Okinawa, including the U.S. military’s Kadena Air Base. A TCCOR (tropical cyclone condition of readiness) storm watch was issued by the 18th Wind commander at Kadena Air Base Wednesday, establishing a heightened alert status for the base. The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued high wave warnings for Okinawa and nearby islands, along with less serious advisories for gale-force winds and thunderstorms.

Any westward adjustment in the forecast track could mean more dangerous impacts (storm surge, stronger winds) for the area, but that appears increasingly less likely.

Japan’s Daito Islands (population 2,000), about 200 miles east of Okinawa, are expected to take a direct hit from the typhoon Thursday afternoon and evening local time (early Thursday morning U.S. time).

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