Super Typhoon Neoguri is expected to produce Category 5 strength winds as it hits Japan
Monday, July 7, 2014, 8:19 AM - Heavy rain is falling in southern Japan ahead of an approaching hurricane-like storm.
"Super Typhoon Neoguri, the strongest typhoon so far in the 2014 Western Pacific season, is an extremely dangerous tropical cyclone as it churns toward Okinawa and potentially other parts of Japan over the next couple of days," says weather.com.
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The system became a typhoon, the Western Pacific equivalent of a hurricane, on Friday prompting thousands of evacuations before Neoguri arrives.
Forecasters say the enormous storm system could reach the equivalent of Category 5 strength by Tuesday with sustained winds close to 200 km/h and gusts upwards of 300 km/h.
Officials say the storm could be one of the strongest to hit Japan in decades, generating waves up to 14 metres (46 feet) high.
"There is a risk of unprecedentedly strong winds and torrential rains. Please refrain from nonessential outdoor activities,'' Meteorological Agency official Satoshi Ebihara told reporters at a news conference.
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A special warning for violent winds and flood tides have been issued as Neoguri had been forecast to pass dangerously close to Okinawa on Tuesday.
"The most recent forecasts have the center passing over 100 miles to the west of Okinawa while moving north. Still, that puts the island on the stronger right-hand side of the storm, with hurricane-force winds," adds weather.com. "After passing Okinawa, Neoguri is then expected go on to affect parts of the Japanese mainland by Wednesday."
Officials warn that heavy rains could cause landslides and other significant damage.
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With files from The Associated Press