It's had top sustained winds above 170 miles per hour. It's got very low pressure. It is life threatening. And its cone of possible landfall includes Okinawa and the Asian mainland.
It's super typhoon Sanba, and it could strike the Japanese island by late Saturday night (local time) before storming on to China, South Korea and North Korea. Stars and Stripes writer Dave Ornauer says the storm's outermost bands are already hitting Okinawa:
"The bad news: I have never, in all my years of following tropical cyclones, seen a storm this intense here in the Pacific. Super Typhoon Sanba is peaking in intensity at 155 knots, or 178.25 mph, today along with gusts near 220 mph (!!!) – a Category 5-equivalent typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson Scale - and will remain close to that for the next day or so."
The Saffir-Simpson scale only goes to a category 5. If Sanba keeps its ferocity, the National Hurricane Center warns "catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse."
But Ornauer estimates Sanba's strength will diminish, and top sustained winds could plunge to 104 miles per hour, with some stronger gusts.
Meghan Evans of Accuweather expects rainfall of between one and two feet in typhoon areas. She adds there's potential in South Korea for a widespread flooding disaster, along with wind damage. Last month, Typhoon Bolaven killed 60 people on the Korean peninsula, says CNN.