Typhoon Lan rapidly intensifying into super typhoon, may strike Japan


Typhoon Lan has been undergoing rapid intensification on Thursday night and Friday, and will likely reach super typhoon status by Saturday morning. Such a threshold is crossed when a typhoon has sustained winds of at least 150 miles per hour.

The storm is in a favorable environment for strengthening and is likely on a collision course with highly populated areas of Japan.

One characteristic of this storm that's clear from satellite imagery is that it has developed a massive eye about 50 miles in diameter. To put that into perspective, if you put the center of the storm on top of Manhattan, it would encompass parts of New Jersey, the lower Hudson Valley of New York, southwestern Connecticut, and western Long Island. 

SEE ALSO: Typhoon Lan will be Earth's next megastorm, with effects rippling across the Pacific

Satellite intensity estimates show that Typhoon Lan may have already strengthened to Super Typhoon intensity, however, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) has not yet updated its official intensity estimate to show this. 

Conditions appear ripe for further strengthening on Friday and Friday night, eastern time. Typhoon Lan is forecast to move to the north-northeast during the next few days, peaking in intensity early in the weekend before encountering cooler ocean waters and strong upper-level winds that will cause the system to lose some of its punch.  

The typhoon is forecast to move just off the Japanese coast, passing near the city of Kyoto on Oct. 22 and near or directly over Tokyo between the 22nd and 23rd. 

At that time, the JTWC, predicts the typhoon will be a large Category 1 or 2 storm, though it may also be transitioning into a large and powerful non-tropical system. 

Nevertheless, it could bring multiple hazards to the Tokyo area, including storm surge flooding along the coast, inland flooding from heavy rains, as well as strong, damaging winds that could cause widespread power outages. 
More: The strongest typhoon of 2016

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Super Typhoon Meranti, strongest storm of the year, strikes
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Super Typhoon Meranti, strongest storm of the year, strikes
A man stands in front of a damaged vehicle and convenience store after Typhoon Meranti made landfall, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Paramilitary policemen remove toppled trees after Typhoon Meranti swept through Xiamen, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
A damaged chimney is seen at a factory before Typhoon Meranti makes a landfall on southeastern China, in Quanzhou, Fujian province, China, September 14, 2016. Picture taken September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
Streets are seen flooded after Typhoon Meranti made landfall on southeastern China, in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. Smudges in picture are caused by raindrops on the lens. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.??
People wade through a flooded street after Typhoon Meranti made landfall on southeastern China, in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
A man rides through a flooded street after Typhoon Meranti made landfall on southeastern China, in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
A car is seen under toppled trees after Typhoon Meranti swept through Xiamen, Fujian province, China, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
FUZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 15: A vehicle and a motorcycle amke their way through a flooded road after Typhoon Meranti hit on September 15, 2016 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province of China. Typhoon Meranti made landfall in Xiamen at 3:05 a.m on Thursday and caused damage in Fujian. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
A general view shows an overturned fishing boat in the aftermath of super typhoon Meranti, at Sizihwan in Kaohsiung on Sepember 15, 2016. Parts of Taiwan came to a standstill on September 14 as super typhoon Meranti brought the strongest winds in 21 years, while China issued a red alert for waves as the storm bore down on the mainland. / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
PINGTUNG, Sept. 14, 2016 -- Trees are broken by strong wind on a highway from Pingtung to Kenting in typhoon-hit Taiwan, southeast China, Sept. 14, 2016. Typhoon Meranti on Wednesday brought strong winds and heavy downpour to the island. (Xinhua via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A local resident removes a rock from a blocked road in southern Pingtung county as typhoon Meranti slash southern Taiwan on September 14, 2016. Parts of Taiwan were brought to a standstill on September 14, as the strongest typhoon of the year skirted past the island's southern tip, knocking out power for more than 180,000 households. / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
An advertisement board lies collapsed by the road as super typhoon Meranti skirts Pingtung county in southern Taiwan on September 14, 2016. Parts of Taiwan were brought to a standstill on September 14 as the strongest typhoon of the year skirted past the island's southern tip, knocking out power for more than 180,000 households. / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
FUJIAN, Sept. 14, 2016 -- Photo taken on Sept. 14, 2016 shows the gales and monster waves off the coast of Fuqing, southeast China's Fujian Province. China's National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center on Wednesday upgraded its warning for ocean waves triggered by Typhoon Meranti to 'red,' the highest of a four-color warning system. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan via Getty Images)
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One of the most interesting aspects of this typhoon will be how it will affect the weather thousands of miles away, including across the East Coast of the U.S. during the next one to two weeks. When typhoons, particularly powerful ones like Lan, recurve into the northern Pacific Ocean, they can give a jolt — akin to a 6-pack of Red Bull — to the jet stream flowing from west to east across the Pacific Ocean. 

Map showing the Pacific jet stream before Typhoon Lan recurves into the North Pacific.

Map showing the Pacific jet stream before Typhoon Lan recurves into the North Pacific.

Image: weatherbell

 

Map showing the Pacific jet stream after Typhoon Lan recurves into the North Pacific.

Map showing the Pacific jet stream after Typhoon Lan recurves into the North Pacific.

Image: weatherbell

The jet stream, which is a narrow highway of strong winds at about 30,000 feet above the Earth's surface that steers weather systems, tends to become more amplified, or wavier, in the days after a strong typhoon recurves into the northern Pacific Ocean. These waves in the jet stream can spawn storms and outbreaks of cold air across North America, and are part of what long-range weather forecasters look for when making a prediction. 

It appears that Typhoon Lan, will alter the U.S. weather pattern in a way that ends a long period of unusually mild weather across the eastern U.S., for example.

For now, though, the focus remains on the threat to Japan, given that Tokyo is a flood-prone city of 9 million. 

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