Typhoon Vongfong, which has the potential to reach category six strength, has its sights set on Japan.
Only two weeks after Typhoon Phanfone pounded Japan with torrential rains and high winds, Vongfong has rapidly intensified, and is now the strongest tropical cyclone since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in 2013, which left over 6,000 dead and over 1,800 missing.
Typhoon Vongfong is currently in open water, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii has classified Typhoon Vongfong as a Super Typhoon. According to CNN, Typhoon Vongfong has sustained winds of 178 mph and wind gust of 219 mph, with wave heights reaching 50 feet, and it’s expected to get stronger, possibly to a force equal to that of a category six hurricane.
Even worse — it has its eyes set for typhoon wary Japan.
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) October 10, 2014
The JTWC has Typhoon Vongfong heading north towards the Japanese island of Okinawa, and although it is expected to lose some intensity as it approach Japan, the storm could still be the equivalent of a category three hurricane on the U.S. scale, which could still do major damage to the country.
Storm watchers have been in awe over the sheer force of Typhoon Vongfong, in which it’s cloud field is so large, that it would cover the entire continental United States, from Washington State to Washington D.C.
Michael Lowry, a storm specialist for The Weather Channel, told NBC News:
“It’s safe to say Vongfong is the strongest storm on earth since Haiyan last year.”
U.S. bases in Guam and the southern Japanese islands have been put on alert for Typhoon Vongfong, stocking up on food, water supplies and fuel. Typhoon Vongfong is expected to skirt pass Guam and douse the island with torrential rainfall.
Despite the recent typhoon activity, the JTWC said that 2014 has seen a lower-than-average number of typhoons, but the number of Super Typhoons like Typhoon Vongfong has doubled the yearly average with six so far this season.