JAPAN is bracing itself for Typhoon Hagibis.
The powerful storm has been described as ‘violent’ by weather forecasters and could affect this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
How will Typhoon Hagibis affect the Japanese Grand Prix?
AS well as the F1, the typhoon is threatening Rugby World Cup matches scheduled for October 12 and 13.
England vs France from Yokohama has been called off, with Sunday’s matches still under consideration.
Weather models project the monster storm will continue on a north-westerly path towards Japan where it is expected to make landfall around Saturday morning.
Estimates vary about where it will hit, but F1 chiefs are taking no chances and are already bracing themselves for the worst.
Qualifying could potentially be moved from Saturday to Sunday if the weather is deemed too dangerous to race.
This weekend’s action is being held at the Suzuka Circuit, just south of the city of Nagoya.
Only if the weather is severe enough will schedule changes be made – otherwise, the drivers will be out on the track battling the elements.
In 2004, heavy rain and winds in excess of 100mph from Typhoon Ma-On forced the qualifying session to be delayed to the following day at the Japanese GP – but the race went ahead as planned on the Sunday.
Former F1 meteorologist Steffen Dietz believes that ‘impact is high’ – but that forecasters can’t be sure which course the typhoon will take.
He revealed on Twitter: “#Hagibis has explosively intensified and is now already a super typhoon! (= hurricane category 4).
“Track forecast towards Japan and #F1 is quite consistent.
“Likelihood for any impact is high, however, details remain uncertain at this stage.”
In 2o14, torrential rain at Suzuka forced the Grand Prix to be red flagged during the race as a result of Typhoon Phonfone.
How big is it?
THE storm is predicted to move in a north-westerly direction as the week progresses.
This would see it hit mainland Japan – but weather forecasters agree that it would weaken when on land.
Winds are gusting up to 165mph in the giant storm, which by some predictions could change direction and hit Tokyo.
Japan sees around 20 typhoons every year, although they do tend to vary in both strength and impact.
Currently, it is classed as “violent”, which is the highest level of severity on Japan’s typhoon charts.