Readers of The Google Earth Blog may find today is an interesting day to check out the article on Himawari 8. Images from Japan's newest Geosynchronous weather satellite began being included in TV Weather news just a little more than a week ago (July 7). The resolution of the new images is much higher, and because it can take and process images much faster, cloud cover animation is much smoother. The present moment is particularly interesting because a strong typhoon, Number 11, will shortly make landfall. Four years ago, a typhoon of similar strength and path caused damage in wide-spread areas throughout much of the country. (Osaka, where I live, is well sheltered, and suffered very little from typhoons since I began living here 13 years ago.) Wakayama Ken and the island of Shikoku, however, are apt not to be so lucky, and the slow moving storm is likely to drop huge amounts of rainfall as it moves northward.
I wasn't at all sure whether to start this thread at all. The GEB story convinced me to post here in Weather and Climate, but Current Events might have been more appropriate, or maybe I should have just let it pass. Sitting here in Osaka safe and nearly dry makes me only a spectator to the dramatic weather happening all around me, but I'm happy to report that so far no deaths have been reported, and very few injuries. Some areas have had winds up to 100 mph (160 kph) and several places got over 500 mm of rain. (One foot, for my countrymen, is just a shade over 300 mm.) That much rain has got to cause a lot of damage, and transportation systems in western Japan are affected, but it looks like extra precautions put in place after the 2011 disaster have paid off well in public safety.
I'm quoting below the whole brief article from the English language NHK World website. The video there is worth having a look at, if you are interested. (I doubt if many people who live in Japan would know the name Typhoon Nangka, where the storm goes by the more prosaic name 2015 - 11.)
Tropical storm Nangka hits western Japan
Japan Jul. 17, 2015 - Updated 06:27 UTC+9
Severe tropical storm Nangka is bringing strong winds and torrential rainfall to wide areas across western Japan after making landfall late Thursday.
Municipalities in those areas are advising more than 360,000 people to evacuate. Air traffic to and from the region has been severely disrupted.
Japan's meteorological agency says Nangka was downgraded from a typhoon after it made landfall at 11 PM in Kochi Prefecture on the Pacific coast of the Shikoku region. It is heading north at 20 kilometers an hour, cutting through western Japan.
The storm's central atmospheric pressure is 980 hpa as of 5 AM Friday. It is packing gusts of up to 144 kilometers an hour.
In some areas of Shikoku and the Kii Peninsula, more than 500 millimeters of rainfall has been recorded.
As of 5 AM Friday, about 360,000 people from 9 prefectures were advised to find alternate shelter. 31 people in 13 prefectures have been injured.
217 flights were cancelled on Thursday. An additional 126 flights on Friday have also been cancelled.
The meteorological agency warns of further torrential rainfall, landslides and flooding, as well as tidal waves.
Posting here is appropriate, washi. There is way too much going on with weather over Japan! I've been semi-following it on the news and your posts bring it to life. It's startling to read that 360,000 need to evacuate western Japan!
What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. - W.H. Davies, from "Leisure"
The dramatic weather will soon be over here in western Japan. The rain is still falling here at a respectable rate, and likely will continue for another 12 hours, but the matsuri of the local shrine is proceeding apace, and it should be gone before the first scheduled matsuri event. (The festival is one of the few events I look forward in the our hot, muggy summers. One the four neighborhood teams parks its floats nearby when they're not parading through the neighborhood, so I have two days of listening to the thunder of taiko drums). The more famous Gion Matsuri in Kyoto had a soggy parade yesterday, but fortunately no high winds came to topple the towering, hand-drawn floats.
I've quoted below the updated article on NHK WORLD WEBSITE. The updated video there is again much more informative than anything I've found posted on You Tube. Please note that the storm continues to pull in a lot of moisture-laden air, so many of the areas (like Saitama, where the high school girl may have been swept away by a swollen river) are far away and have yet to experience direct effects of the super storm.
Nangka moving slowly above Sea of Japan
Japan Jul. 17, 2015 - Updated 16:14 UTC+9
Tropical storm Nangka is slowly moving north above the Sea of Japan off Tottori Prefecture, western Japan. Weather officials are warning of landslides, swollen rivers, and flooding in low-lying areas.
The Meteorological Agency says that as of 6 PM on Friday, Nangka was 90 kilometers north of Tottori City, and heading northeast at 20 kilometers per hour.
The storm crossed the Chugoku district after making landfall in Kochi Prefecture on the Pacific coast of Shikoku on Thursday night and in Okayama Prefecture on the Seto Inland Sea early Friday.
Areas on the Kii Peninsula have had cumulative rainfall of more than 700 millimeters. Nangka's slow speed has caused violent downpours in some areas.
Weather officials are warning of further torrential rain again in western and eastern Japan throughout the night. They're also warning of torrential downpours of more than 60 millimeters per hour in the Tokai area.
Two men died in Hyogo Prefecture on Thursday while preparing for the storm. Fifty-seven people were injured in 18 prefectures. One person went missing in Saitama Prefecture.
At least 187 domestic flights have been cancelled, mainly those departing from or arriving in western Japan in the morning.
The soil must be completely waterlogged in some areas.
Indeed it is, although southern Kyushu, which was completely saturated already, seems to have been spared an additional dousing. There were lots of stories on TV of homes and roads damaged by landslides, but I'm not aware of any deaths or even serious injuries. I don't remember when the heavy rain started here, but it continued for about 12 hours. Fortunately, it stopped before I heard any drums, and we had two days of the nicest weather I can ever remember at matsuri time.
Since you like taiko, I'll insert a little video clip I shot a couple of years ago. It's not great stuff, (and there are much better videos online), but I'm impressed with the young ladies, and if you are too, you might want to click upper left and follow the link back to You Tube where you can read my long-winded comment about the importance of their presence and the significance of matsuri in 21st century Japan.