Another crazy ass radar photo...
Japan’s storm of the decade: Typhoon Wipha lashing Tokyo, Fukushima
Typhoon Wipha is barreling up the east coast of Japan, spreading torrential rains and the likelihood of damaging winds.
Typhoon Wipha (NOAA)
The storm’s maximum sustained winds are currently around 85 mph and
gusts that high could impact Tokyo as the center moves very close to the
city of 35 million people early Wednesday morning (local time, or this
At 4 a.m. local time, the wind was sustained at 40 mph, gusting to 52
mph at Tokyo International Airport with heavy rain and visibility less
than 1 mile.
While the storm is weakening as it transitions from a tropical to
mid-latitude storm, its field of strong winds is expanding as it
combines with a cold front intersecting its path. Winds of over 58 mph
extend about 130 miles west of its center.
Areas at greatest risk of flooding rain and damaging winds (AccuWeather.com)
The threat of tree damage and power outages is elevated due to leaves still on trees notes Wunderground’s Jeff Masters.
The Japan Meteorological Agency is classifying the storm as a “once in a decade” event writes the Japan Daily Press. It is the strongest storm to impact the region since Typhoon Tokage in October, 2004.
Heavy rain, sometimes falling at a rate of 1 inch per hour or greater, has already progressed into Japan’s northern reaches.
Link: Radar from Japan Meteorological Agency
Widespread rainfall totals of 4-8 inches are likely throughout Japan, with locally higher amounts.
In Fukushima, there are concerns flooding could complicate clean-up
efforts at its nuclear site after recent leakage of radioactive
material. Reports ThinkProgress:
Fukushima’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Corporation is already cancelling all offshore work
and considering halting onshore work depending on the storm’s path.
While Tokyo Electric plans to pump rainwater into holding tanks, check
it for radioactivity, and release it only if uncontaminated, the fact that they haven’t been able to contain leaks raises concerns over the further escape of radioactive water.
If there is good news, the center of the storm is likely to remain
just offshore Japan’s coast, which means Tokyo and Fukushima should
remain west of the push of water (or the storm surge) directed by the
storm’s flow on its east side.
Track forecast for Wipha (Joint Typhoon Warning Center)
In addition, the center’s closest approach should coincide with low tide, notes meteorologist Eric Holthaus.
In short, the risk of a storm surge disaster is decreasing. Still,
the inland fetch of water on the storm’s north side will raise the seas
some and cause some minor tidal flooding.
As Andrew Freedman as Climate Central notes,
typhoons are fairly common in Japan, although they are often
transitioning into “hybrid systems” – a cross between tropical and
mid-latitude storms – that far north.