I was really surprised, perhaps along with about 100 million other residents in Japan, to hear the opening news story at 7pm that a typhoon-like storm is threatening Japan tomorrow (3rd April). That kind of storm that the Japan Meteorological Agency is worried about is reserved only for summer and for actual typhoons; but it’s the end of winter and early spring? We were told that there would be unpredictable consequences and possible erratic weather as a result of unbalancing the climate. I’d like to hear what logic climate skeptics might attempt to use to explain this!
The current storm warning in Japan as at 22.54, 02 April 2012
Left, the storm warning map showing current warnings several hours ahead of the expected storm. Below, boats moored in a marina behind storm surge walls for Typhoon Talas in 2011.
Edit: Updated map, 3rd April, 2012, from the Japan Meteorological Agency website, at 6pm. For related news see the Bloomberg website, and the NHK website.
Every time there was a typhoon in Taiwan, I always heard that there had been at least one idiot who went to the coast to watch the big waves, and that idiot got washed away and died.
This time, this idiot finally got interested in seeing what the waves look like near where I live. I live very close to Ise Bay, where the major cities of Nagoya, Yokkaichi and Toyota are located. I decided to take my bicycle as it gives me better access along the dyke, so I road my bicycle into the wind in very low gear (2-2 and sometimes 1-1). After 40 minutes of hard cycling I eventually got to the coast to see the bay. The waves were… small. About a foot high, but the wind was full gale force, and the rain stung my skin. There were gale force warnings and flood warnings for my area. I slowly road back home taking photos along the way, and rarely needing to pedal (the wind was strong enough to power me up to being faster than running speed). By the time I got home in my prefecture one person was already missing, 18 injured, some homes were evacuated, and landslides in areas near mountains became likely. Because the typhoon is moving so slowly, there will be so much rain falling over a protracted time and not draining, and so there will be disasters occurring.
Below is the start of a new collection of Disaster photos. The collection currently focuses on tsunami and storm surge dykes. It is modest, but one must start somewhere. If I were funded, I would be prepared to travel to better locations (further than I care to ride a bicycle).
Typhoon Talas, (or in Japanese “Typhoon number 12”) has slowed considerably. This time Thursday it was moving NNW at 10km/h, then at 4pm at 15km/h, now Friday morning the Japan Meteorological Agency describes it as moving “slowly” (see the English language page below). Typhoon bring heavy rains, and if the heavy rains linger there will be flooding, landslides, and other serious damage. Sustained powerful winds will also weaken many structures. As pointed out in yesterdays blog post, the slower a typhoon moves the more powerful it is (stronger winds). The typhoon is moving a little to the south of Nagoya, where I live, but the storm area is not a perfect circle. Typically, the strongest part of a northern hemisphere typhoon is from the north-west, north, north-east, to the eastern quarters. The central region of Japan, like Shikoku just to the south will bare the brunt of the typhoon.
The main concern for my location is flooding. We live behind levy walls that protect us from tsunamis and storm surges, but I don’t know how they can handle strong storm surges at high tide. That is to say, a New Orleans is possible here. It has already happened in 1959 with the major storm surge coupled with a high tide from Typhoon Vera (or “Ise Wan Typhoon”). However, since 1959 there has been extensive redesigning and rebuilding of the levy bank walls. The walls are now water proof, protected from heavy and consistent rain, have much more solid foundations (protecting from heavy waves), and a higher.
The course of Typhoon Talas, the twelfth typhoon of the season, as at 9am Friday 2nd Sept
The 12th typhoon of the season named Talas is on the way to hit large parts of mainland Japan (JMA). Extremely heavy rain, tidal and storm surge inundations are highly possible, especially in the Tohoku disaster area. The Tohoku area partially sunk and suffered liquefaction, which increases the likelihood of storm surge flooding. The typhoon is due to strike Japan on the 2nd to 3rd Sept (Thur / Fri).