Super Typhoon Nuri may be strongest of 2014 before striking parts of Japan

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Super Typhoon Nuri - Japan - NOAA
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Super Typhoon Nuri may be strongest of 2014 before striking parts of Japan
Super Typhoon Nuri churns toward Japan. (NOAA)
The island nation is not expected to take a direct hit but is included in the "cone of uncertainty." (NOAA)
The mega storm's well defined eye is at least 15-miles across. (NOAA)
High resolution closeup of Super Typhoon Nuri's eye, as seen from space.
Another view of Super Typhoon Nuri, with a huge mass of convection to the north.
Super Typhoon Nuri is expected to transition to powerful mid-latitude cyclone over the Aleutian Islands later this week.
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By RYAN GORMAN

The year's most powerful tropical storm is headed straight for parts of Japan -- again.

Super Typhoon Nuri and its nearly-200 mph sustained winds are steaming straight at Japan only weeks after Super Typhoon Vongfong scored a direct hit on Okinawa. Vongfong was previously the strongest storm of 2014.

The eye of the Category-5 storm is expected to stay offshore, but islands that are part of the capital city Tokyo may be in the path of the monster storm, according to AccuWeather.

The Izu and Ogasawara Islands, well south of the mega city but administratively part of it, are expected to be hit Thursday or Friday, but the storm is expected to significantly weaken by then.

Nuri's current path has it aimed squarely at the southern island Okinawa, where multiple U.S. military bases are located.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center still has Japan within the "cone of uncertainty" normally used to depict the expected path a storm will take, but it is expected to be a near-miss.

Nuri is forceast to take a turn towards the northeast that will bring the powerful system just east of Tokyo.

The Super Typhoon is already as strong or stronger than Vongfong, which had previously been the strongest storm of the year.



Satellite data shows Nuri's sustained winds have stayed at or above 180 mph for more than 12 hours. Those winds are expected to top 195 mph before the storm begins to weaken.

"Super Typhoon" status is achieved once a storm's sustained winds top 150 mph. Nuri is the sixth such storm this season.

Stunning footage from the International Space Station shows how big the storm is, and offers a rare top-down view.

Nuri began on Halloween as a tropical depression and rapidly intensified over the weekend. It is expected to eventually slam Alaska's Aleutian Islands, in the Bering Sea, as a strong non-tropical storm.

Both Nuri and Vongfong have narrowly missed hitting the Philippines. The island nation was devastated in 2013 by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which came ashore with 190 mph winds and a storm surge that wiped out the city of Tacloban.

Also on AOL:
Another Super Typhoon Threatens Japan


Related links:
Super typhoon Vongfong barrels across Pacific toward Japan
Strong cyclone lashes India; typhoon hits Japan
Typhoon washes 3 US airmen out to sea in Japan
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