Typhoon Hagibis continuing to strengthen

Suzuka, Japan

Japanese Grand Prix – Typhoon Hagibis continues to strengthen as it closes in on making landfall in Japan, but is expected to weaken towards the weekend.

The Typhoon Hagibis, which continues to make its way in a north-westerly direction towards Japan, was upgraded from tropical storm to typhoon status two days ago. The large and violent storm can currently be seen tracking its way towards Japan, and is expected to envelop most of the country over the coming days.

According to Japan’s Meteorological Agency, Hagibis will move north through Japan over the course of the weekend, with wide areas across Japan expected to be affected on Saturday and Sunday. The UK’s Met Office says that Hagibis ‘remains a powerful typhoon with intensity equivalent to a category 5 hurricane. The most likely forecast track brings the eye ashore in the Tokyo region close to midday UK time on Saturday.’

Currently blowing winds of around 270km/h, a super-typhoon status is reached at wind speeds of 210km/h. Professor Kazuhisa Tsuboki of the Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center at Nagoya University has warned that the storm may not weaken a lot as it approaches Japan, due to warmer seawater temperatures than the usual average.

According to former Formula 1 meteorologist Steffen Dietz, the storm will intesify over the next 24 hours before starting to weaken as it approaches Japan’s coast. However, the Suzuka area is still expected to be hit with significant rain and wind on Saturday, before possibly clearing for Sunday.

So far, Formula 1 is yet to pass official comment on the forecasted conditions, and have not indicated any changes to the usual weekend schedule. The most likely scenario, assuming Saturday is the only day predominantly hit, will be that qualifying will be moved to Sunday morning – like what happened in 2004. FP3 is likely to be cancelled.

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Thomas Maher

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