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Formidable Typhoon Haishen triggers landslides in Japan, deluges South Korea

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Typhoon Haishen became the latest in a series of punishing typhoons to batter eastern Asia when it pummeled both Japan and the Korean Peninsula over the weekend and into early this week.

Already reeling from Typhoon Maysak’s damaging impacts last week, both North and South Korea as well as Japan are now left to deal with more destruction from the even stronger Haishen.

The one-two punch of both Maysak and Haishen brought heavy rainfall, flooding and damaging winds. However, Haishen became the first super typhoon of the season in the western Pacific Ocean, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Haishen made landfall near Ulsan, just north of Busan in South Korea, on Monday morning, local time, according to The Korea Herald. At landfall, the typhoon had the equivalent strength of a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale in the Atlantic or East Pacific basins.

Haishen continued to lose intensity after making landfall and, as of Monday evening, was a strong tropical storm according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

Additionally, Haishen became a record breaker for South Korea.

A satellite view of Typhoon Haishen bearing down on Japan during Saturday afternoon, local time. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Haishen became the fifth named tropical system to make landfall in the country this far in 2020. Typhoon Haishen’s landfall in South Korea broke the previous record for the number of named storms to make landfall in a single year.

Haishen is also the fourth tropical system to impact the Korean Peninsula in the past 30 days, with each system stronger than the last.

As of Monday evening, rainfall totals of 100-150 mm (4-6 inches) were common for coastal areas along the eastern portion of the peninsula, while rainfall totals were generally in the 25-75 mm (1-3 inches) range for inland and western areas.

Significant travel disruptions ensued from the deluge of water, including flooded and blocked roadways, according to Busan’s Metropolitan City Traffic Information Service Center on Twitter.

The Korea Herald reported that Haishen also caused power cuts and tree damage across the region. Work was shut down at the Hyundai Motors factory in Ulsan after the power was knocked out, and the company said it may take some time for the factory to become fully operational.

According to the Associated Press, more than 100 homes were destroyed or flooded, and at least 80 fishing boats were sunk as Haishen battered the area on Monday.

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Before Haishen left its mark on the Korean Peninsula, the typhoon had first swept through southern Japan over the weekend.

Late last week, Japanese officials told residents to brace for impacts from the typhoon, urging many to evacuate their homes. By Sunday morning, local time, more than 810,000 people across four prefectures in southwestern Japan were ordered to evacuate.

A landslide site caused by Typhoon Haishen where local media say four people are missing is seen in Shiiba Town, Miyazaki prefecture, southwestern Japan on September 7, 2020 (Photo:Kyodo/via REUTERS).

Minamidaitojima, a small island in southern Japan, spent much of Saturday and Saturday night in the eye wall of Haishen and reported a wind gust of 185 km/h (115 mph).

Rainfall totals ranged from 100-150 mm (4-6 inches) across southwestern Japan. As of Monday night, Miyakonojo in southern Kyushu had received 255 mm (10.04 inches) of rain from the storm. This much rainfall in a short amount of time contributed to several landslides across the country.

According to the Associated Press, Japanese disaster management officials in Kagoshima confirmed a woman in her 70s died of a head injury after falling into a roadside ditch while evacuating from a coastal town over the weekend. Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said at least 38 other people were injured as a result of Haishen, five of them seriously.

According to the Kyushu Electric Power Co., at least 107,540 households were still without power across the Kyushu region as of Monday night.

The Japanese Coast Guard is set to resume the search and rescue mission for missing sailors in the East China Sea on Tuesday. Dozens of sailors have been missing since the middle of last week after a cargo ship carrying cattle capsized in the rough surf from Typhoon Maysak. The mission was temporarily suspended as Haishen moved through the area.

Because of these impacts, Haishen is expected to be a 4 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Tropical Cyclones in Japan and a 4 in South Korea. The RealImpact™ Scale is a 6-point scale with ratings of less-than-1 and 1 to 5.

In comparison to the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale, which has been used by meteorologists for decades and classifies storms by wind speed only, the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale is based on a broad range of important factors. The scale covers not only wind speed, but also flooding rain, storm surge and economic damage and loss. This communicates a more comprehensive representation of the potential impact of a storm to lives and livelihoods.

Widespread heavy rain will continue to fall across the Korean Peninsula and spread into northeastern China. Rainfall from Haishen, in addition to the recent heavy rain from Maysak, could lead to significant and widespread flooding.

The threat of flooding rainfall will shift out of South Korea and into portions of North Korea, China and Russia through Tuesday.

“Haishen will move across northeastern North Korea into Jilian province, China, into early Tuesday, local time. During this time, the storm will rapidly lose wind intensity but continue to impact the region as a tropical rainstorm,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.

Widespread flooding across North Korea and China could lead to significant agricultural impacts and crop loss as the storm sweeps through these regions early this week.

North Korea is a country that relies heavily on agriculture, so the threat for widespread flooding may put a strain on the country’s food supply.

The West Pacific tropical season was unusually quiet earlier this summer, but it has turned active and even record breaking through August and the beginning of September.

Haishen’s landfall marks the third significant typhoon strike within a week’s time on the Korean Peninsula, following Maysak on Sept. 3 and Typhoon Bavi, which made landfall in North Korea on Aug. 27. Residents had little time to recover from these storms prior to Haishen’s arrival.

Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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