Typhoon Hagibis remains on track towards Japan, with Tokyo and the surrounding area now firmly a target and the storm forecast to make landfall as a Category 1 or 2 equivalent storm on Saturday.
This article last updated at 08:00 BST, Sat Oct 12th: Over the coming day or so typhoon Hagibis will near Japan as a very large, still dangerous typhoon, with wind speeds at landfall forecast to be between Category 1 and 2 strength according to meteorologists, keeping insurance and reinsurance markets on-watch into this weekend.
Typhoon Hagibis is currently located just south of Shizuoka Japan and is heading north, but with a slight turn expected as it nears, the timing of which will be crucial in determining the magnitude of eventual impacts for the country.
Latest pre-landfall data as of Saturday morning: Currently, typhoon Hagibis’ sustained winds are estimated at around 100 mph, so no longer a super typhoon, with gusts as high as an estimated 115 mph, which is a little weaker and the storm has begun to hit slightly colder SST’s as it travels north and a little more wind shear. Minimum central pressure of the typhoon is currently estimated as having fallen slightly again to 950mb.
Rainfall is a significant issue, with totals already reaching into more than one foot of rain for areas of Tokyo and the surrounding region. The area of Hakkone has now recorded over two feet of rain in a 12 hour period, a level which is close to Japan’s record 12 hour rainfall total. A number of rivers are now on alert for potential flooding, including some in the Tokyo suburbs, and with some hours of rainfall to come the flood related impacts from Hagibis could prove severe.
At least one large tornado has been reported on the outskirts of Tokyo from the outerbands of Hagibis as the typhoon nears landfall this morning.
Surge levels are now beginning to rise along the coastline and some areas of coastal flooding are likely to be seen.
Tropical Storm Risk, the reinsurance industry and academia supported forecasting team, continues to suggest 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.
Uncertainty persists over the precise impacts that Typhoon Hagibis will have on Japan, with still some models showing a brush with the coast.
However, as typhoon Hagibis gets ever closer to Japan there is more consensus in a landfall occurring with impacts likely to be felt in the greater Tokyo region. Landfall itself may be a little further west, towards Izu and Hamamatsu, but the forecast track for Hagibis looks set to take it close to the Tokyo Bay area and perhaps across Chiba as it travels north and curves east following a landfall.
So landfall does now look increasingly likely as Hagibis bears down on the country. A landfalling Hagibis will bring challenges for insurance, reinsurance and ILS fund interests, given it comes close on the heels of Faxai, a storm for which the impacts and reserves are still being worked out.
Typhoon Hagibis is forecast to make landfall in the Category 1 to Category 2 range on Saturday.
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 weakening slightly but remains an extremely large storm and its footprint will affect a wide area of Japan as a result.
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. The latest JTWC forecast, on the morning of Friday 11th shows 92 mph estimates for sustained winds, with gusts to 115 mph, at or around landfall.
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.
Hagibis is likely to come ashore in an area where inlets can exacerbate storm surge, should the storm push water into one of the Bays between Izu and Tokyo.
There is still some uncertainty due to the timing and positioning of the 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 even that the storm comes ashore further south and perhaps travels north east over land for longer as a result.
The models are erring towards a landfall of some description this morning, with fewer runs showing Hagibis as just giving Japan a glancing blow. As a result the probability of an impactful event seems to be rising as the typhoon approaches.
As the storm approaches, it’s an important time for Japan and the insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) industries to assess potential damage and take any action, as typhoon Hagibis has the potential to result in another sizeable Japan typhoon industry loss.
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.