Super Typhoon Halong to soak the Philippines as it heads to Japan

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 August, 2014, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 August, 2014, 3:41pm

Typhoon Halong will probably bring downpours to the Philippines in the next few days as it passes offshore on a track to slam into southwestern Japan with winds gusting to 140 nautical miles (260 kilometres) per hour.

Halong, moving west-northwest at 11 kilometres per hour, was centreed about 1,100 kilometres east of the Philippines, the nation’s weather bureau said in an 11am bulletin. Authorities have issued an evacuation advisory for almost half a million people in danger from flooding on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, the Asahi newspaper reported on its website.

Favorable conditions including warm sea surface temperatures are expected to persist, allowing Halong to maintain super typhoon strength over the next 24 hours, the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast at 11am in Tokyo. The storm may weaken over the next three days, with maximum wind gusts dropping to 120 nautical miles per hour, according to the forecast.

“Halong has been rapidly intensifying to start the weekend,” Adam Douty, a meteorologist at Accuweather.com, said on its website. “While the current path of Halong puts the northern Ryukyu Islands and southern Japan at greatest risk of a direct landfall with heavy rain and damaging winds, all residents of Japan, the Korean Peninsula and even northeastern China should closely monitor the typhoon for potential dangers.”
Watch: How typhoons are formed

Flood warnings

The Philippines, battered each year by an average of 20 cyclones that form over the Pacific Ocean, is second to Japan among the most-at-risk nations from tropical storms, according to research company Maplecroft.

Typhoon Wipha killed at least 15 and left 55 missing on the island of Oshima, 100 kilometres south of Tokyo, in October. Typhoon Rammasun last month killed at least 98 people in the Philippines, left millions without electricity and damaged 10.5 billion pesos (HK$1.86 billion) in agriculture and infrastructure.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued heavy rain and flood warnings for southwestern regions including Shikoku and parts of Kyushu and western Honshu. Heavy rain advisories are in effect for Okinawa and most of southwest and central Japan.

Halong will probably enhance a southwest monsoon that’s bringing rain to Manila and most of Luzon island, the Philippines weather bureau said.