Cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes are all the same thing: big tropical weather systems. The difference is where they form. Typhoons form over the northwest Pacific and travel towards the Philippines, Taiwan, Korea, China, and Japan. Japan gets typhoons every year. Because it is a long-thin nation (2,400 km long) a typhoon can affect any portion of the country, though as they travel north they generally becomes weaker and, rather than deliver destructive wind, mostly dump a lot of rain.
This year we’ve had two typhoons sweep through the Greater Tokyo area. The one that came through on Oct 12 was especially large and dumped up to a metre of rain in places, though by the time it made landfall the winds were not so bad as they’d predicted. Nonetheless it’s one of the biggest typhoons the area has seen in recent years and the whole metropolis basically shut down for more than 24 hours. That is almost unheard of: all trains stopped, most shops were shut, and most events cancelled. The biggest risk was flooding. Around a third of Japan’s population lives here on the largest plain in Japan and there are many waterways, some of which make the Brisbane river look like a creek. The other big risk was landslides— around 70-80% of the nation can be categorised as mountainous. Landslides killed some while they were while driving or asleep in their homes. Our local area was fine, but many in other areas had to evacuate. Flood mitigation is a big deal in Tokyo and we have an enormous “flood pit” built under our local gym just down the road. Overall, more than 90 people are known to have died.
Please pray for those who’ve lost loved ones and for the expensive reconstruction.
– Excerpt from November Newsletter written by Wendy Marshall
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