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This satellite image taken July 31, 2017, and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows Typhoon Noru.

A powerful Pacific typhoon that intensified into the Northern Hemisphere's strongest storm of the year but has since lost some of its punch could still threaten Japan by this weekend.

Typhoon Noru on Tuesday was packing maximum sustained winds of 204 kilometres per hour with gusts of up to 250 kilometres per hour, according to the U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

That makes it the equivalent of a high Category 3 or low Category 4 cyclone. The Weather Channel said Noru reached Category 5 at its peak Monday and was the Northern Hemisphere's strongest storm of 2017.

The Weather Channel said Noru should move slowly northwestward and could make landfall in Japan by this weekend, although it was still too early to be certain that would occur.

The typhoon strengthened from a tropical storm with winds of 113 kilometres per hour to a super typhoon with winds of 257 kilometres per hour in a period of just 18 hours, according to The Weather Channel.

The warning centre forecast the storm would continue to ease somewhat with winds dropping to 185 kilometres per hour over the next few days.

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