Powerful Typhoon Hagibis Continues Toward Honshu

Powerful Typhoon Hagibis continue to move toward Honshu on Wednesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Typhoon Hagibis was located at latitude 23.7°N and longitude 139.5°E which put it about 140 miles (225 km) west-southwest of Iwo To.  Hagibis was moving toward the north at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 195 m.p.h. (315 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 918 mb.

Typhoon Hagibis continued to have a powerful, large circulation on Wednesday.  A circular eye with a diameter of 25 miles (40 km) was at the center of circulation.  The eye was surrounded 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 Hagibis.  The rainbands in the northwestern quadrant of Hagibis were a little weaker than the bands in other parts of the typhoon.  Some drier air may have been being pulled into the the northwestern quadrant of the circulation.  Storms around the core of the typhoon continue to generate strong upper level divergence.

The strength of the winds around Typhoon Hagibis exhibited more asymmetry on Wednesday.  Winds to typhoon force extended out 150 miles (240 km) from the center of circulation in the northeastern part of Hagibis.  Winds to typhoon force were occurring within 100 miles (160 km) of the center in the other parts of Typhoon Hagibis.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 370 miles (565 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Typhoon Hagibis was 35.0.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 39.9 and he Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 74.9.  Typhoon Hagibis was capable of causing extensive catastrophic damage.

Typhoon Habigis will continue to move through an environment capable of supporting strong  typhoons, but Hagibis is likely to start to weaken on Thursday.  Typhoon Hagibis will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C, but that is slightly cooler than the water Hagibis has been over.  Typhoon Hagibis will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak during the next 24 hours.  There will be little vertical wind shear on Thursday, and so Hagibis will likely weaken slowly.  Typhoon Hagibis will move closer to upper level westerly winds in the middle latitudes on Friday.  When Hagibis gets closer to the stronger upper level winds, vertical wind shear will increase and the typhoon will weaken more quickly.  The large circulation around Typhoon Hagibis will slow the rate of weakening even when the wind shear increases.

Typhoon Hagibis will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Western North Pacific Ocean during the next 24 hours.  The high will steer Hagibis toward the north on Thursday.  Typhoon Hagibis will move toward the northeast on Friday when it reaches the upper level westerly winds.  On its anticipated track the center of Typhoon Hagibis will move west of Iwo To during the next 24 hours.  Hagibis will bring winds to tropical storm force to Iwo To and there is a chance that the winds could reach typhoon force at times.  Rainbands on the eastern side of the typhoon will drop heavy rain on Iwo To.  Typhoon Hagibis could approach the coast of Honshu near Tokyo in a little over 48 hours.  Hagibis will still be a typhoon when it approaches Tokyo.  It will bring strong winds and heavy rain to parts of Honshu.  Typhoon Hagibis could also produce winds to tropical storm force on Shikoku.