Typhoon Faxai Strengthens to Equivalent of Major Hurricane South of Tokyo

Typhoon Faxai strengthened into the equivalent of a major hurricane south of Tokyo, Japan on Saturday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Typhoon Faxai was located at latitude 31.8°N and longitude 139.7°E which put it about 300 miles (485 km) south of Tokyo, Japan.  Faxai was loving toward the northwest at 18 m.p.h. (30 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (215 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 944 mb.

Typhoon Faxai intensified rapidly into the equivalent of a major hurricane on Saturday.  There was a small circular eye at the center of circulation.  The eye was surround by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Typhoon Faxai.  Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the typhoon.

The circulation around Typhoon Faxai became more symmetrical on Saturday.  Winds to typhoon force extended out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 140 miles (220 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Typhoon Faxai was 25.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 15.0 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 40.1.  Typhoon Faxai was capable of causing regional major damage.

Typhoon Faxai will move through an environment favorable for powerful typhoons during the next 12 hours.  Faxai will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move under the middle of an upper level ridge where the winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Typhoon Faxai is likely to maintain its intensity during the next 12 hours and it could strengthen a little more.  Typhoon Faxai will reach the coast of Honshu in about 12 hours and Faxai will weaken when it moves over land.  Faxai will move under the westerly winds in the middle latitudes in a day or so and the vertical wind shear will increase when that happens.

Typhoon Faxai will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Western North Pacific Ocean.  The high will steer Faxai toward the north during the next 12 to 18 hours.  The high pressure system and the westerly winds in the middle latitude will turn Typhoon Faxai toward the northeast in 18-24 hours.  On its anticipated track Typhoon Faxai will approach the coast of Honshu near Tokyo in about 12 hours.  Faxai will be capable of causing major damage when it reaches Honshu.