NU Online News Service, Sept. 21, 1:43 p.m. EDT

Typhoon Roke weakened before striking Japan today near Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka Prefecture, but has still caused damage and deaths.

The storm struck as a borderline Category 1/Category 2 typhoon, according to a Guy Carpenter Cat-i bulletin. It had been approaching Japan as a Category 4 typhoon.  

Guy Carpenter notes that the storm has already caused deaths, wind damage and flooding in affected areas, and the storm is expected to move across Japan’s main island of Honshu throughout the day, possibly in the direction of Fukushima Prefecture, where the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is located.

Citing officials, Guy Carpenter says flooding appears to be the main concern, and heavy rainfall is expected throughout the day in affected areas. The Tokyo metropolitan area is expected to be in the path of Roke’s strongest winds and heaviest rain, Guy Carpenter says, citing the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. “Although there is some uncertainty associated with Roke’s forecast track, the storm is currently expected to move through eastern parts of Honshu as it continues to move in a northeasterly direction,” Guy Carpenter says. “Roke is expected to weaken and be downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves across Japan.” Forecasters expect the storm to take 12 hours to cross Japan.

In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Ophelia has formed and is moving west, but the National Hurricane Center says it is expected to weaken over the next 48 hours. The NHC’s extended forecast has the storm moving near Puerto Rico by Monday morning.