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Huge Typhoon Tapah threatens Japanese archipelago over long weekend

The forecasted path of Typhoon Tapah as of 6 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2019. (Image from the Japan Meteorological Agency website)

TOKYO -- Large Typhoon Tapah will likely bring strong winds and heavy rain to extensive areas of the Japanese archipelago over the three-day weekend, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

As of 6 p.m. on Sept. 20, the typhoon, this year's 17th, was situated approximately 260 kilometers southeast of the Miyako Islands in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa and slowly moving northwest. The atmospheric pressure at its center was 985 hectopascals.

The typhoon is likely to come close to Okinawa Prefecture on the morning of Sept. 21. Strong winds are already blowing in Okinawa Prefecture and on the Amami Islands in Kagoshima Prefecture, north of Okinawa. The sea around these areas was extremely rough on Sept. 20, with winds feared to become stronger the following day.

The typhoon's maximum instantaneous wind speed is estimated to hit 40 meters per second (144 kilometers per hour) in the Okinawa region and 30m/s (108 kph) in the Amami region till Sept. 21. Waves reaching 9 meters high off Okinawa and 8 meters off the Amami region are also expected.

The amount of rain over the 24-hour period up to 6 p.m. on Sept. 21 is forecasted to total 200 millimeters in the Okinawa region, 150 millimeters in southern Kyushu and 120 millimeters in the Amami, northern Kyushu and Shikoku regions.

The typhoon is then expected to move north above the East China Sea toward the Sea of Japan, and come close to western Japan on Sept. 22.

The tropical storm is forecast to move northeast above the Sea of Japan and approach the Hokuriku region along the sea in central Japan and northern Japan between Sept. 23 and 24.

The JMA warns of floods, landslides and swollen rivers caused by heavy rain as well as lightning, tornadoes and high waves.

The typhoon and a seasonal rain front that will be activated by the typhoon could bring heavy rain to western Japan on Sept. 22.


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