Massive Category 5 Typhoon Vongfong targets Japan
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 1:14 PM - The day after Typhoon Phanfone lashed the islands of Japan, leaving at least one person dead and several people missing, another typhoon became the most powerful storm on Earth.
Typhoon Vongfong rapidly strengthened from a Category 3 to Category 5 typhoon between Monday and Tuesday, with sustained winds of 272 km/h.
The typhoon is currently over open water and isn't having a major impact on land, but when it brushed the islands of Guam and the Marianas over the weekend, it left thousands of people without power.
It is the most powerful storm to approach east Asia since Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda.
That storm boasted maximum winds of around 275 km/h at its strongest, and although not that strong when it struck the Philippines in late 2013, it caused the deaths of around 6,000 people and brought waves of up to 15 m, according to the BBC.
Current forecasts say the storm is set to swing up toward Japan later this week, weakening to Category 3 status by the time it begins to affect the country.
Japan has already felt the sting of a powerful typhoon, Phanfone, which impacted the region over the weekend into Monday.
While nowhere near as powerful as Vongfong currently, it still boasted winds of up to 180 km/h when it made landfall in central Japan on Monday morning, according to the BBC.
Its powerful winds whipped up the waves damaged buildings, while torrential rains caused localized flooding and raised mudslide fears.
WATCH: Phanfone's strong winds lash Japan
At least three people have died as a result of Phanfone, along with more than 60 people injured. Four people are also missing.
Among the dead are one U.S. serviceman who was found dead after being washed out to sea. Two others are still missing.
Two people were found dead near Yokohama after being buried by mudslides, according to NHK, which also says two others were missing in the rough surf.
Around 2.7 million people were told to prep for evacuation, although the Japan Times says 50,000 were actually ordered to leave.
More than 600 flights were cancelled and train service was severely disrupted.