Oct 8, 2014

Super Typhoon Vongfong menaces Japan

Japan
by
Doyle Rice
,
USA Today
Photo: NOAA/NASA
Photo: NOAA/NASA

Super Typhoon Vongfong, in the western Pacific Ocean, is the Earth's strongest storm so far this year. It's also the planet's most powerful storm since 2013's Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands in the Philippines last November.

Vongfong's winds are now about 170 mph, down slightly from a peak Tuesday of 180 mph. It's still equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.

As of 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, the eye of Vongfong was just under 600 miles south-southeast of Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, and was moving northwest at 8 mph, the Weather Channel reported.

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Vongfong comes on the heels of Typhoon Phanfone, which hit Japan last weekend, killing at least seven people and leaving four missing.

Vongfong passed through U.S. islands in the Marianas earlier this week, but little damage was reported.

Government officials in Guam, Saipan, Rota, and Tinian reported minor storm damage from the typhoon, which had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph as it moved through the islands early Monday.

Another storm, Tropical Cyclone Hudhud, is spinning in the Bay of Bengal; it's forecast to hit the east coast of India with Category 3 intensity Sunday.