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Typhoon PHANFONE heads for Japan

Threatening Hazard for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Japan.
A powerful typhoon – currently situated over the Western Pacific – could endanger the Japanese Grand Prix, which will take place in Suzuka, Japan, on Sunday. Expert Meteorologists from UBIMET are already on the scene in Suzuka delivering continous detailed weather forecasts to the FIA and all Formula 1 teams. Typhoon experts from UBIMET Australia are supporting in all cases.

On Thursday morning (CEST) satellite images showed the eye of category-4-Typhoon PHANFONE, approximately 340 nautical miles (630 km) south of Iwo To in the Bonin Islands. On Friday, it is expected to move northwestward, reaching a maximum mean wind intensity of 130 knots (240 km/h). Gusts could exceed 160 knots (300 km/h). After passing the Ryūkyū Islands on Saturday PHANFONE should weaken a little due to moving over colder water and getting into an area of stronger wind shear, but should remain a powerful category 3-4 typhoon.

Impact on Japan and Formula 1
From today's analysis Formula-1-Chief-Meteorologist Steffen Dietz expects that the race will be affected by rain in Suzuka. "There are still big uncertainties for the storm track in the coming days. The current forecast track for typhoon PHANFONE keeps the eye of the storm to the southeast of Japan on Sunday but with associated rainbands extending north towards Suzuka during the morning. Once it starts the rain is likely to be prolonged and become increasingly heavy.“ Winds will be mostly light initially but freshen as the days goes on. At this time, nothing too severe is expected before Monday.

Challenge to logistics 
What can be a tough challenge, is how to logistically cope with the typhoon when the equipment is packed. That has to be done directly after the race within a few hours, so that the whole F1-baggage can be transported to Sochi. The Grand Prix at the Black Sea will take place on October 12th.