Meet Neoguri, the first super typhoon of 2014. The storm’s maximum sustained winds were blowing at about 240 kilometers (150 miles) per hour when the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor on Suomi-NPP captured this image of the category 4 storm churning toward Okinawa and southern Japan on July 7, 2014, at 4:55 Universal Time (1:55 p.m. in Japan Standard Time on July 8).
Forecasts were calling for the center of the powerful storm to brush Okinawa on Tuesday and then push toward southern Japan, where it is expected to make landfall at Kyushu on Wednesday. With warm water and favorable wind conditions in its path, Neoguri could strengthen temporarily into a category 5 super typhoon, but the storm should weaken as it makes its final approach on the Japanese mainland and encounters cooler ocean temperatures and heavier wind shear. However, its current size and intensity suggests it could still make landfall as a dangerous category 2 or 3 storm.
On July 7 at 15:00 Universal Time (12 a.m. Japan Standard Time on July 8), the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported maximum significant wave heights of 12 meters (40 feet). At that time, the typhoon was centered at 23.1° North latitude, 126.7° East longitude, about 455 kilometers (282 miles) southwest of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.
“Neoguri has been caught by a trough of low pressure and is headed for the Japanese island of Kyushu, where the city of Nagasaki lies. Nagasaki had upwards of 8 inches of rain on Thursday, and parts of Kyushu saw 10 inches of rain on Friday, thanks to a stalled stationary front over the island. With the soils already saturated from these heavy rains, the torrential rains from Neoguri are sure to cause major flooding on Wednesday and Thursday,” noted chief Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters.
Read In a Warming World, Storms May Be Fewer but Stronger to learn more about tropical cyclones and climate change.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Adam Voiland.