Typhoon Mindulle set to skirt Japan’s coast, but threat of high wind and heavy rain remains


Typhoon Mindulle may not be on a collision course for mainland Japan, but its path off the coast of Honshu on Friday could bring heavy rain and strong winds to areas including Tokyo.

The 16th typhoon of the year, classified by the Meteorological Agency as “large” and “very strong,” is forecast to approach the Izu Islands, south of Tokyo, on Friday before moving over the ocean east of Kanto.

“Kanto did dodge a bit of a bullet,” typhoon expert Robert Speta said Wednesday. “Not only because the storm is passing to the east but also because Mindulle is still going to be a strong typhoon … as it makes it’s closest approach to Tokyo.”

Earlier tracking forecasts had shown the possibility of a landfall on Honshu.

Speta said coastal areas in Kanto could see gusts of up to 150 kph, but he said high waves in tandem with heavy rain could be a bigger danger for some areas. Tokyo may see gusts of up 100 kph, he said.

The Izu Islands, however, are directly in the storm’s path.

The Meteorological Agency's tracking forecast as of 3 p.m. Thursday | METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY
The Meteorological Agency’s tracking forecast as of 3 p.m. Thursday | METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY

“Anytime a typhoon passes over the Izu Islands I get a little nervous due to the volcanic soil there prone to landslides,” Speta said, recalling a 2013 incident on Izu Oshima island following a storm.

The agency forecasts 200 millimeters to 300 millimeters of rain on the Izu Islands in the 24 hours up to Friday morning.

As of Thursday afternoo, the typhoon was heading north-northeast over the Pacific Ocean at a speed of 30 kph. With a central pressure of 945 hectopascals, it had a maximum 10-minute wind speed average of 162 kph and gusts of up to 216 kph. The storm appears set to weaken only slightly as it moves north and then northeast.

The agency issued high-wave warnings in areas including Okinawa Prefecture, the Amami Islands, the Izu Islands and the Ogasawara Islands, as well as in the coastal areas of the Shikoku, Kinki, Tokai and Kanto regions.

Information from Kyodo and Jiji added

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