Typhoon Wipha Aims to Batter Tokyo, Japan

By Courtney Spamer, Meteorologist
October 14, 2013; 3:49 PM
The above image is a satellite capture of Wipha on Monday, courtesy of NOAA.

Millions of people in Japan brace for the approach of Typhoon Wipha and the expected destructive winds in addition to life-threatening flooding and mudslides.

Wipha, the more powerful of two major Pacific typhoons, continued to strengthen over the weekend over the open waters south of Japan.

On Monday, Wipha contained sustained winds near 195 kph (120 mph), the equivalent of a healthy Category 3 hurricane.

A cold front approaching Japan from the west, will move toward the country midweek, directing Wipha north and northeast Tuesday and Wednesday, and allowing for the western half of the storm to pummel Japan.

The greatest area of concern extends across eastern Honshu, including the greater Tokyo area, home to more than 35 million people.

Heavy rainfall will also target the higher terrain of inland Japan. The amount of rain falling Tuesday and Wednesday will be significant, enough to cause widespread flooding in addition to the threat for mudslides.

Even more rainfall, between 150-250 mm (6-10 inches), will batter the eastern coastlines through late Wednesday, along with damaging winds. The strongest wind gusts are expected to surpass 120 kph (75 mph) during the peak of the storm.

Winds of this magnitude can lead to downed trees, widespread power outages and structural damage.

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Wipha is now the twelfth typhoon of 2013 and also the 26th named tropical cyclone of the year, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Another cyclone with the potential to strengthen into the the next typhoon will come next week, resurfacing the threat for damaging winds and flooding rains across Japan.

AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Leister contributed content to this story.

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