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Most powerful storm of the year eyes Japan

The strongest tropical cyclone of 2014 is spinning toward Japan, maintaining winds around 165 miles per hour. Super Typhoon Vongfong is predicted to still be a Category 5 storm by the end of Wednesday, but is not expected to make landfall in Japan until early next week.

Forecasters at the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center still have “high uncertainty” of their predictions of exactly when and where Vongfong will come ashore. The super typhoon is expected to hit the Ryuku Islands, including Okinawa, this weekend as a Category 3 storm, The Weather Channel reported, while some models show it making landfall in Tokyo by late Monday or early Tuesday. By that time, its winds could potentially slow to tropical storm strength.

Vongfong may have already hit its peak as a storm. On Tuesday, the super typhoon was whipping up winds of 180 miles and hour and waves 50 feet high.

A storm earns the label “super typhoon” when it reaches sustained wind speeds of 150 miles per hour, the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane. If Vongfong maintains its current strength, it would be similar Super Typhoon Haiyan, which ravaged the Philippines in 2013.

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