Super typhoon near Japan's Okinawa is year's strongest storm

Hinnamnor would be the strongest storm of 2022 based on the maximum sustained wind speed recorded at this point. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM METOC.NAVY.MIL

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - The strongest global storm of 2022 is barreling towards the East China Sea, threatening Japan's southern islands but posing only a potential risk to Taiwan or China's east coast.

Super Typhoon Hinnamnor, currently several hundred kilometres to the east of Okinawa, is expected to skirt the Japanese islands this weekend, according to a forecast from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The storm is packing sustained winds of about 241kmh and gusts of around 299kmh, according to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC).

Hinnamnor would be the strongest storm of 2022 based on the maximum sustained wind speed recorded at this point, according to a JMA official.

Okinawa flights have already been disrupted by the storm.

Japan Airlines cancelled flights to and from the region on Wednesday (Aug 31), while ANA Holdings said eight flights have been scrubbed through Thursday. Both companies warned that depending on the course of the typhoon, flights could be affected throughout the week.

Forecasts show the typhoon moving south of Okinawa by Friday, then moving northwards to approach the island over the weekend.

After that, the path is uncertain, but projections indicate the storm will continue north toward the Korean peninsula next week, suggesting it will bypass Taiwan and the coast of mainland China.

The US JTWC forecasts the super typhoon will lose some of its strength over the coming days.

Things are somewhat quieter over in the Atlantic, where a sustained period of calm is putting the area between Africa and the Caribbean, known as "Hurricane Alley", on course for its quietest August - typically the start of the hurricane season's most active phase - in 25 years.

The expanse of ocean has had only two stormless Augusts in more than seven decades of record keeping - one in 1961 and the other in 1997, said Mr Phil Klotzbach, lead author of Colorado State University's seasonal storm forecast.

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