Pacific Super Typhoon Hinnamnor becomes 2022’s strongest storm



The Atlantic may be wrapping up its calmest August in 25 years, but the strongest tropical system of 2022 is raging in the northwest Pacific. Super Typhoon Hinnamnor, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, is on course to hit one or more of Japan’s islands.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds easterly time Tuesday afternoon was estimated at about 160 mph by the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center, which classifies it as a rare super typhoon. Gusts of 190 mph were likely within the eyewall, the ring of destructive winds around the calm storm center. The powerhouse was located about 400 miles south-southeast of Japan’s Kyushu Island, swirling west at 19 mph.

Typhoons in the Northwest Pacific are no different from hurricanes in the Atlantic; they are just called different things. To become a “super typhoon,” a storm must reach sustained winds of at least 250 mph.

Atlantic Ocean warms, with tropical storm formation expected this week

As Hinnamnor heads west, most of Japan is not yet under surveillance or warnings, but storm and high wave warnings have been raised for the Daito Islands southeast of Okinawa, home to about 2,100 residents. The two small inhabited islands, Minamidaitojima and Kitadaitojima, are at their highest point about 60 meters above sea level and are made of limestone built on top of ancient coral reefs.

The storm center is expected to pass 153 miles south of Kadena Air Base on Okinawa at 7 p.m. local time Wednesday, with up to 5 to 6 inches of rain and wind gusts up to 109 mph, according to Stars and Stripes.

It’s unclear how close the storm will get to Japan’s more populous islands and how the storm could eventually affect weather in North America.

On Tuesday, the Japanese satellite Himawari-8 captured terrifying images from above as the atmospheric buzz-saw crept west. The storm was a fairly compact “annular cyclone,” characterized by an intense band of convection or thunderstorms surrounding a hollowed-out eye. Most hurricanes, typhoons and mature tropical cyclones have a spiral of arcuate squall lines and rain bands flowing into the center. Annular cyclones have a smaller radius of maximum wind and are more symmetrical, which helps them maintain their ferocity.

At the periphery of the typhoon, tall, thin, wispy cirrus clouds can be seen on satellites radiating away from the center. That marks the outflow or exhaust at high altitudes, as “spent” air expands from the storm. The more already processed air a storm evacuates from above, the more the internal air pressure can drop. That means the storm, in turn, can take in more moisture-rich surface air in contact with the ocean. That feeds his livelihood or intensification.

Hinnamnor will probably keep his strength for another day or so for the possibility of a modest wake.

Either way, it’s already the strongest storm to hit Earth this year, and it could be very problematic wherever it hits. A Category 3 storm is still expected even in five days.

It appears that Hinnamnor is bending slightly to the south, suppressed by high pressure to the north. This will probably keep its center just south of Okinawa Island, but it’s way too close for comfort anyway. The Japanese islands of Miyakojima, Tarama and Ishigaki appear to be at greater risk, with the closest pass likely sometime on Friday or Saturday.

By then, it will likely falter a bit, and it could weaken to a Category 3 or low-end Category 4 storm, but a severe impact is still expected. Weather models differ significantly in their simulations afterward, but agree on the same premise: An approaching low-pressure system to the northwest will help push Hinnamnor north.

The US (GFS) model then suggests that Hinnamnor will invade South Korea early next week, which endured catastrophic flooding just three weeks ago. The European model favors a somewhat weaker Hinnamnor crossing over southern Japan with hurricane strength and abundant rainfall.

Unfortunately, it seems that both scenarios will continue to starve China of meaningful rainfall. The country has suffered a blistering heat wave and brutal drought that has wreaked havoc on agricultural production.

There’s a small possibility that the final shot of Hinnamnor in a low-pressure area at mid-latitude in seven to 10 days could bend the jet stream enough to even affect the weather in North America in the next two or three weeks. Photo throwing a rock into a gently flowing stream. That rock would affect the flow around it, resulting in ripples downstream. The peaks and valleys of those ripples are analogous to high and low pressure systems. The details of how such a chain reaction might proceed remains to be seen.

Hinnamnor’s tantrum comes amid an abnormally calm season for tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere. So far, tropical storm activity in the hemisphere is only about 53 percent off the average, with half the number of major hurricane-force systems expected.

Meanwhile, meteorologists are also closely monitoring a system in the Atlantic that is likely to become Danielle and could run at hurricane strength next week. All evidence points to it going out to sea and sparing the US, though it could be something for Bermuda to keep an eye on.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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