A large and highly dangerous typhoon has rapidly gained strength in the western Pacific, meteorologists are warning. Super typhoon Sanba, currently positioned 690 miles south of Japan, has peak winds of 155 mph—the equivalent of a strong Category 4 hurricane—and on the cusp of developing into a dangerous Category 5 storm, the highest level on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane strength scale.
At present, the massive storm is headed due north which would take it on a path very close to the Japanese island of Okinawa on late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning local time. The storm is expected to continue its track due north on a path toward the southern tip of South Korea on Monday.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center has issued warnings for a large area alerting residents of the destructive potential of Sanba. Forecasters say conditions in the region are favorable for an intensification of the storm over the next 24 to 36 hours.
Residents of Okinawa, Japan, have already dealt with two serious typhoons this season, Bolaven and Haikui. Weather experts fear that this storm could be far more dangerous and devastating than the previous two storms combined. Heavy amounts of rainfall and massive flooding are the primary concerns in low-lying, coastal areas, with a high storm surge anticipated due to the storm's powerful winds which could top 175 mph.