Just one week following a deadly dousing from Typhoon Wipha, a second typhoon could deluge Japan. On the heels of Wipha comes super typhoon Francisco, about 250 miles west-northwest of Guam, tracking north-northwestward.
Long-term track guidance takes super typhoon Francisco on a course generally towards Japan, with another round of rain and wind possible some time between Wednesday and Friday next week.
Over the last 36 hours, Typhoon Francisco has rapidly strengthened and, with maximum sustained winds around 155 mph, is the equivalent of a high-end category 4 hurricane. As its peak winds exceed 150 mph, it has earned super typhoon status.
Its current satellite presentation exhibits the traits of an extremely powerful cyclone, with a well-defined eye surrounded by heavy thunderstorms.
Francisco is expected to hold its own over the weekend, before steady weakening is forecast next week.
By next Wednesday, around the time Francisco may be approaching Japan, peak winds are expected to have decreased to 80-85 mph.
Still, should even a much weakened Francisco make a direct hit on Japan, it would likely bring a second round of torrential rain following up to 33 inches of rain from Wipha.
Wipha’s rain caused mudslides and flooding, leading to 18 deaths. At the Fukushima nuclear plant, the level of radioactivity spiked after heavy rains may have lifted contaminated soil according to EuroNews.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center cautions forecast confidence for Francisco’s track is low, so it’s certainly possible the storm just grazes or avoids Japan altogether.
It’s a storm worth monitoring, and we will update on it next week.