Typhoon Hagibis continues on course towards Japan as a strong Super typhoon, with landfall looking increasingly likely and while uncertainty is still high in precisely where a landfall will be, Tokyo remains on alert for the storm.
Read our latest update on Typhoon Hagibis here.
This article last updated at 16:00 BST, Thurs Oct 10th: At the end of this week typhoon Hagibis will near Japan as a very large, but a bit weaker typhoon, with wind speeds of between Category 1 and 3 strength according to the latest forecasts, keeping insurance and reinsurance markets on-watch for the rest of the week.
Typhoon Hagibis is currently located in the north west Pacific and remains on course for Japan, but with a turn expected, the timing of which will be crucial in determining eventual impacts for the country.
Currently, the JTWC estimates typhoon Hagibis’ sustained winds at just under 150 mph, with gusts nearing an estimated 185 mph, which is a little weaker and the storm has begun to hit colder SST’s and a little more wind shear. Minimum central pressure of the typhoon is currently estimated as having dropped to around 915mb.
Tropical Storm Risk, the reinsurance industry and academia supported forecasting team, has raised a red alert warning for Tokyo, saying category 1 or stronger wind conditions from typhoon Hagibis are possible late Friday and into Saturday.
The JTWC’s forecast continues to show the Tokyo region as the most likely for a landfall at the weekend, and almost all of the risk models now suggest landfall will be somewhere from Hamamatsu to the Tokyo area of Honshu island.
As a result, uncertainty still reigns over the precise impacts that Typhoon Hagibis will have on Japan, with still some models showing a harder right turn and a brush with the coast. But whatever happens, Hagibis is forecast to remain a strong typhoon as it tracks north west and curves towards Japan, with some weakening expected to begin later this week and landfall does now look increasingly likely as Hagibis bears down on the country.
The forecast models are still showing a slightly weaker typhoon as it nears the Japanese coast, with the potential for winds somewhere in the Category 1 to low Category 3 range at landfall.
That’s sufficient for structural damage from winds, potential storm surge impacts, flooding from rainfall and general disruption as the very large storm will impact a wide area of Japan.
Typhoon Hagibis is beginning to weaken slightly but remains an extremely large storm and its footprint will affect a wide area of Japan.
But as typhoon Hagibis moves further north it is expected to continue weakening, as cooler waters and increasing wind shear begins to interact with the typhoon.
By the time typhoon Hagibis nears Japan it is expected to have weakened back to a Category 1, 2 perhaps a low 3 equivalent storm, but also to be very large, as the storm will likely continue to expand its wind field over the coming days.
The latest forecast consensus seems to be for high Category 1 to low Category 2 wind strength at landfall currently, which is sufficient for property damage and disruption to occur.
Storm surge, rainfall and flooding could also be an issue as Hagibis is very large and will drop significant rainfall totals along its path. That also raises the prospect of landslides in Japans mountainous terrain.
The forecast remains challenging though, with some model runs showing typhoon Hagibis curving and brushing Japan, while others show Hagibis making a direct landfall in Japan somewhere on its south and eastern coastline of Honshu between Tokyo and Hamamatsu.
The reason for this uncertainty, is the timing and positioning of a steering pressure ridge that is expected to force typhoon Hagibis round and to begin to turn north east. How early this ridge steers typhoon Hagibis will be critical to whether Japan and Tokyo itself has major direct impacts, slight impacts and a brush from the typhoon, or that the storm comes ashore further south and perhaps travels over land for longer as a result.
The latest JTWC forecast, on the morning of Thursday 10th, shows typhoon Hagibis coming ashore close to Tokyo (perhaps just south) with winds that are expected to be around 95 mph to 115 mph. However, as we said, other model runs are beginning to show less of a curve and landfall occurring further to the south.
It’s going to remain a challenging few days for Japan and the insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) industries, as typhoon Hagibis has the potential to result in another sizeable Japan typhoon industry loss, or could result in nothing particularly impactful at all.
There are also major international events including the rugby world cup and Japanese Formula 1 GP to consider, as disruption to them would certainly exacerbate insurance claims. Some of the rugby games scheduled for the weekend have already been cancelled as a precaution.
After the impacts of typhoon Faxai and with typhoon Jebi and its loss creep still fresh in everyone’s minds, another typhoon industry loss will certainly crystalise minds for the next Japanese reinsurance renewals in 2020.
We will update you as necessary as the week proceeds.
You can view a selection of forecast model outputs for typhoon Hagibis below, all from Levi Cowan’s TropicalTidbits.com.