As of right now, Typhoon Hagibis is ominously approaching Japan as one of the strongest typhoons in the West Pacific basin this year. Just take a look at the swell chart above to see how major this storm is.
There's a small chance that Hagibis will strengthen over the next half-a-day or so, but it's on a northwest track and is expected to curve more NNW during the next few days. By Saturday, the swell is going to rifle into Japan, potentially capping out at around 54ft mark but coupled with a strong onshore wind of up to 80mph.
As for waves, you're going to want to seek shelter from that wind if you want to be on it but this isn't really one for surfers at the moment. Hagibis gathered strength at an incredible rate, as MSW forecaster Tony Butt explains: "Super-Typhoon Hagibis is currently situated about 550 miles north-northwest of Guam in the northwest Pacific, moving steadily towards the northwest at about 10 mph. Maximum sustained winds are 160 mph with higher gusts, putting it firmly in Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The term ‘explosive cyclogenesis’ is given to storms that deepen by 24 mb in 24 hours – Hagibis deepened three times this fast
"Hagibis has already made headlines with its extremely-rapid intensification. The central pressure of the storm dropped 77 mb over the 24 hours up to 18:00 on Monday. The term ‘explosive cyclogenesis’ is given to storms that deepen by 24 mb in 24 hours – Hagibis deepened three times this fast.
"Over the next few days the system is expected to gradually arc around towards the north, speeding up later in the week. It is expected to maintain its intensity in the short term as it continues over warm sea surface temperatures of 29 to 31°C, and relatively low vertical wind shear. It will then begin to gradually weaken as a trough in the atmosphere begins to interfere with the upper outflow of the system (basically, ‘chopping the top off’ the typhoon). Towards the end of the week, it begins to track over sea temperatures of less than 26°C, and starts to weaken more quickly.
"Earlier in the week, Hagibis already produced some very large swell and hazardous conditions on Guam and other islands nearby, and now it is heading straight for Japan. Warnings are in force from Friday onwards.
"Forecasts are suggesting a pulse of large, long-period swell at exposed spots in the Chiba Prefecture beginning late Thursday and continuing through Friday, with the possibility of reasonable wind conditions if you know where to look. On Saturday, the system is expected to either make landfall or at least track very close to the coast, with gigantic wave heights and hurricane-force winds."
Now, imagine the 2020 Olympics running at Shidashita during a storm like this. The games will run in July and Japan's peak typhoon season ranges from May to October but peaks around August and September.
While Hagibi's intensity is impressive, so too is its tropical storm strength wind that extends 550-miles from east to west in its northern part. For reference, it's similar in that way as 2014's Hurricane Marie, the seventh most intense Pacific hurricane on record.
Further afield, we could see a fun NW swell possible for Hawaii around the middle of the month. But we'll bring you more as that develops.