Typhoon Khanun, a tropical cyclone in the Pacific Ocean that battered southern Japan last week, killing at least two people, was meandering back toward Japan on Tuesday, prompting warnings and evacuation orders there and in South Korea, which lay next in its path.
On Tuesday, the storm was about 120 miles south of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, hovering over the smaller islands of Kikai, Amami and Yakushima, Japan’s meteorological agency said. The typhoon’s eye was expected to brush past Kyushu before hitting South Korea’s southern coast on Thursday morning, according to Korean forecasters.
Last week in Japan, in addition to the fatalities, nearly 100 people were injured and thousands lost power after Khanun struck Okinawa, the country’s southernmost prefecture. At the time, the storm was moving northwest toward China, but over the weekend it pivoted east toward Japan’s southern islands. On Tuesday, it doglegged north toward Kyushu and South Korea.
Khanun — the name, which means jackfruit, was contributed to the Typhoon Committee by Thailand — had a maximum sustained wind speed of 58 miles per hour at noon Tuesday in Japan, the United States military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii said. On the five-category wind scale that U.S. meteorologists use to measure hurricanes, the cyclone would be categorized as a tropical storm. Khanun’s winds were expected to grow slightly stronger, peaking on Thursday afternoon at about 63 m.p.h.
A tropical cyclone is a storm that begins over a tropical ocean and generates violent winds, torrential rain and high waves. The term hurricane is used for those that form around the Americas, while those that develop around Asia are called typhoons.
Japan and South Korea have already been battered by an unusually harsh monsoon season this summer. Last month, at least 47 people died in South Korea in nearly a month of some of the heaviest monsoon rains in years. Fourteen of them were caught in a flooded highway underpass. In Japan, at least six people died in Kyushu after the island was hit by what officials called “the heaviest rain ever experienced” in the region.
Hikari Hida contributed reporting from Tokyo.