Typhoon Malakas enjoys the final hours at Category 1 strength as it swirls off the shores of Japan on September 25, 2010 as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiomter (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite passed overhead, capturing this true-color image. Thick storm bands to the northwest coalesce into a solid cloud cover, while broad bands to the southeast cross the islands of Iwo To and Chichi Jima, Japan. The center of the storm features a dense circle of clouds, surrounding a weak and cloud-filled eye.
The storm began as tropical depression 13W on September 20, 2010. On that date, the cloud top temperatures were measured as cold as -65į F and strong thunderstorms were reported. Cold cloud top temperatures indicate strong convection and often indicate a strengthening storm. By 18:00 UTC on that date, according to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACs), winds increased to 74 km/hr, bringing the system to Tropical Storm status.
On September 23, the stormís maximum sustained winds increased to 120 km/h, bringing Malakas briefly to Category 1 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale before weakening back to a Tropical Storm by late morning. At 18:00 UTC on September 23, maximum sustained winds had increased to 138 km/hr, once again bringing the storm to Category 1 strength.
Typhoon Malakas spent most of September 24 as a Category 2 Typhoon, with maximum sustained wind speed of 167 km/ hr and gusts of 204 km/hr reported. By that evening the storm had returned to Category 1 status, and then slowly began to weaken. On September 25 at 00:45 UTC, when this image was captured, Typhoon Malakas enjoys its last hours as a Category 1 storm.
The storm grazed Japan, staying off the coast of all but a few of the countryís over 3,000 islands. No damage was reported, despite heavy surf. There were reports, however, of surfers on the main islandís east coast enjoying the waves created by Typhoon Malakas as they rolled into shore.