Tag Archive | Japan Meteorological Agency

Typhoon Goni batters Japan with record 159 mile-per-hour winds

Typhoon Goni
After dumping deadly rains in the northern Philippines, Typhoon Goni strengthened on Sunday, bringing a record-shattering wind gust to the Japanese island of Ishigakijima.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the wind on Ishigakijima Island reached a maximum gust of 158.8 mph, or 71 meters per second, on Sunday, breaking the site’s all-time record of 157 miles per hour, which was set in 1977.
The airport on Ishigakijima measured a wind gust of 150.7 mph, or 67.4 meters per second, at 10:18 p.m. local time, which was 9:18 a.m. ET on Sunday morning, according to weather.com.
Typhoon Goni has been battering Japan’s Ryukyu Islands with sustained winds of up to 115 miles per hour, or 51.4 meters per second, after the storm intensified throughout Sunday. In fact, the storm may intensify further through Monday, local time, before it begins to weaken as it heads toward the more heavily populated islands of Kyushi.
The Ryukyu’s have been the equivalent of a typhoon magnet this year, having been hit with at least three significant storms so far this season.
The storm will also impact Okinawa, including Kadena Air Base, a U.S. military facility. It is not expected to make a direct hit there, though.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center, or JTWC, which is a joint center run by the U.S. Navy and Air Force, is predicting that Typhoon Goni will pass about 100 nautical miles west of Kadena Air Base on August 24, followed by a potentially direct hit on Sasebo, Japan on the 25th.
That city has a population of about 280,000, and the storm is still expected to be a typhoon at that point, potentially even the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds between 96 to 110 miles per hour.
The storm is then forecast to veer close to the Korean Peninsula, bringing strong winds and heavy rain to southeastern South Korea, and then similar impacts to North Korea by August 26.
Taiwan, which saw more than 50 inches of rain from Typhoon Soudelor during the first week of August, missed major impacts from Typhoon Goni. Earlier forecasts showed the storm slowing down and meandering on top of the island for more than a day, raising the prospect of devastating floods.
Fortunately for Taiwan, that did not come to fruition, as the storm swung south, into the northern Philippines, before regaining strength a safe distance to the east.
Courtesy of mashable.com

Alert level raised of possible eruption of Hokkaido volcano in Japan

Volcano Alert

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) on Tuesday raised its alert level for Mount Meakandake located on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, warning that the volcano is potentially active and an eruption might occur.
The 1,500-meter high active stratovolcano, located in the Akan National Park in Hokkaido — the tallest mountain in the Akan Volcanic Complex — is a popular hiking spot for both tourists and locals with hiking now being in peak season.
As of 4:00 p.m. JST, the JMA raised the alert level from 1 on its 5-point scale, which states that those in the vicinity should: “be mindful that the volcano is potentially active,” to level 2, warning: “do not approach the crater.”
The volcano, in fact, has a triple crater at its summit and consists of nine overlapping cones, which prefectural officials have said is a lure for visitors as the summit offers stunning vistas of the region and the lakes in the craters, and is close to the popular hot spring resort at Lake Akan, which is less than 10 km away from the volcano.
Local officials, however, said the hot spring resort itself would not be impacted by the raised alert level, although hiking within 500 meters of the crater has been restricted.
According to the weather agency here, there has been an increase in volcanic earthquakes in the vicinity of Mt. Meakandake since the weekend, with smoke spotted near the volcano’s craters.
With hiking season in Japan now in peak as it runs from early June to mid-October, the JMA has increased its monitoring of the nation’s some 110 active volcanoes, particularly in light of increased seismic activity of late, resulting, most notably, in the eruption of Mount Ontake, which straddles both Nagano and Gifu prefectures on Sept. 27 last year, that killed around 60 hikers.
More recent eruptions of Mount Hakone in the popular hot spring resort area of the same name, and increased activity recorded at Mt. Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain with its peak at almost 4,000 meters and located just 100 km southwest of Tokyo, as well as at Mt. Io in Kyushu, the south-westernmost of Japan’s main islands, to name just a few, have cause Japan to up its disaster- preparedness.
As well as the JMA’s real-time alerts for all weather related disasters and increased monitoring of all volcanoes in Japan, as well as mobile service providers offering advanced earthquake warnings through cell phone applications, the Japan Mountain Guides Association (JMGA) has also started providing real-time weather related information to hikers as of this month.
Hikers and climbers are advised by JMGA to register their planned routes with the association before they embark and can view up-to-the-hour conditions on the mountain through JMGA’s website, which covers 4,000 square km of terrain across Japan and is accurate to within a square kilometer.
The service was launched in the wake of the deadly eruption of Mt. Ontake, as rescue personnel and first-responders’ emergency operations were severely hampered by not knowing how many people were on the mountain at the time of the fatal eruption.
Earlier this year revised legislation was passed by the government to require hikers and climbers to register their information with the relevant authorities, such as JMGA, before their journeys.
Courtesy of shanghaidaily.com

Severe heatwave kills 5 and hospitalises at least 3,000 in Japan

Record Heat Alert

Five people were killed and more than 3,000 hospitalised in Japan in a heatwave that swept the country last week, media reported on Wednesday.
The dead were elderly people who suffered from heat-stroke as temperatures crossed 39 degrees Celsius, accompanied by humidity of more than 63 percent.
At least 3,200 people, most of them over 65 years of age, were hospitalised across the country over the last eight days, Kyodo news agency reported citing government figures.
Eight of those hospitalised were in critical condition, according to state broadcaster NHK.
The Japan Meteorological Agency, or JMA, has advised residents of the regions most-affected by the heatwave to stay well-hydrated and avoid direct exposure to the sun.
Weather forecasts say the heatwave will recede from Wednesday onwards.
The month of June has been the hottest globally since weather records began to be kept around the end of the 19th century, JMA reported on Wednesday.
Average global surface temperature in June 2015 was 0.41 degree Celsius higher than the average registered between 1981 and 2010, and 0.76 degree Celsius above the average for the entire 20th century, according to JMA.
Courtesy of business-standard.com

Typhoon Chan-hom could be the strongest to strike Zhejiang province, China since 1949

Typhoon Chan-hom
PHOTO: Typhoon Chan-hom (centre left) lashes Japan’s Okinawa island chain as it pushed towards Taiwan and onto China. (AFP: Japan Meteorological Agency)
Typhoon Chan-hom has crossed China’s heavily populated eastern coast, forcing the evacuation of almost 1 million people, shutting transport links and devastating swathes of farmland, the government and state media said.
The powerful storm could be the strongest typhoon to strike Zhejiang province, just south of Shanghai, since 1949, China’s National Meteorological Centre (NMC) said.
It made landfall at 4:40pm (6:40pm AEST) near the port of Ningbo, home to almost 6 million people, before brushing Shanghai and its population of 23 million.
Later in the evening, the storm slowed in speed and was packing winds of up to 162 kilometres per hour as it hit the city of Zhoushan, the NMC said.
Out at sea, Chan-hom was whipping up waves of up to 10 metres high, the US government’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said.
Zhejiang evacuated about 960,000 people and called its entire fishing fleet back to port, state media said. Provincial authorities said earlier that nearly 30,000 vessels had moored safely.
Some parts of the province were deluged with more than 300 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours before Saturday morning, the local government said.
Shanghai forecast the typhoon would “brush” within 100 kilometres of the city late on Saturday or early on Sunday as it veered into the Yellow Sea, according to a local government posting on its official microblog.
The local government urged residents to stay home and cancelled several public events as rain picked up towards midday.
“We recommend everyone does their best to use ‘squatting at home’ tactics to welcome the typhoon,” it said in a statement.
Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport cancelled 500 flights while Hongqiao Airport cancelled 250 because of the typhoon, the official People’s Daily newspaper said.
Chan-hom is forecast to affect a wide swathe of China, also bringing heavy rain to the eastern provinces of Fujian and Jiangsu, the NMC said.
Fujian province, south of Zhejiang, has evacuated more than 30,000 people and Jiangsu another 10,000 people.
People in coastal fishing farms in Fujian were asked to evacuate on Friday morning when the NMC first issued a red alert — the highest level — for the former super typhoon.
The storm left five people dead in the Philippines earlier in the week and injured more than 20 people in Japan on Friday as strong winds uprooted trees and battered buildings, the Tokyo Broadcasting System reported.
Four people were also injured by falling trees in Taiwan when the storm buffeted the island on Friday.
“The upcoming typhoon seems very powerful. We have sealed all our windows and doors and have stored food,” said Liu Yimin, a villager in coastal Huagang village, according to Xinhua.
Apart from the closure of schools and the suspension of flights and trains, more than 51,000 ships had returned to port, local authorities said.
The typhoon is the second storm to hit China in two days after severe tropical storm Linfa made landfall on the coast of southern Guangdong province.
Hot on the heels of Chan-hom, Typhoon Nangka is swelling over the Pacific Ocean and is expected to travel north-west towards Japan’s Ryukyu Islands in the coming days.
The Japan Meteorological Agency described the intensity of the storm as “very strong”.
Authorities in Zhejiang said the province may face $421.66 million in economic losses, with agriculture the worst affected, a local news agency reported.
Waves rise over six-storey buildings on the east coast of China's Zhejiang province as Typhoon Chan-hom approaches
PHOTO: Huge waves dwarf six-storey buildings as Typhoon Chan-hom approaches Wenling, east China’s Zhejiang province after lashing Japan’s Okinawa island chain
Courtesy of abc.net.au

Eruptive activity is becoming intense at Mount Aso. Volcanic tremor continues 24h/day, Japan

  • Meteorological Agency “Eruptive activity is becoming intense at Mount Aso. Volcanic tremor continues 24h/day”
Mount Aso, an active volcano of Kumamoto prefecture, is starting to be active, according to Japan meteorological agency.
From their monthly report published on 1/13/2015, the eruptive activity has become intense since 11/25/2014. Intermittent eruption is observed and warned of volcanic cinders in 1km radius area from one of the central cone craters.
According to Fukuoka district meteorological observatory, volcanic fumes were observed to reach 1,300m above the crater, volcanic glow was also captured by camera during the night of 1/10/2015.
Volcanic tremor has been also measured for 24 hours a day since 1/9/2015. Clinometer is showing it’s been rising around the crater since 1/5/2015.
Courtesy of Fukushima Diary

Severe snow storm unleashes more than 6 foot of snow causing mayhem in Japan

Winter Storm

Up to 11 people are now reported to have died in a winter snow storm gripping much of Japan, as forecasters warn bad weather will continue.
Northern and central parts of Japan have been lashed by strong winds that have dumped huge quantities of snow over the last few days, disrupting travel and cutting off isolated communities.
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper says 11 people are known to have died, including two people – a 79-year-old man and a 29-year-old firefighter – who fell into ditches while clearing snow.
Several other, mainly elderly people have been killed on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido and in regions near the Sea of Japan (East Sea) in mainland Honshu, reports and officials have said on Friday.
There have also been deaths on the roads, with hazardous driving conditions resulting in hundreds of accidents that have left dozens injured.
Public transport networks have also been hit, with several hundred flights grounded, most of them domestic, and bullet trains suffering delays.
More than 270 people were stranded in mountainous areas of Niigata and Nagano after the only road linking them with the outside world was blocked by an avalanche.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) is warning of the risk of further avalanches across much of the country.
Strong winds gusting at up to 140km/h have also caused tidal surges and people in coastal areas are being warned of the danger of high waves.
The storm, which was caused by a powerful area of low pressure “has now peaked, but snow is continuing in regions by the Sea of Japan”, the JMA said.
More than 200 centimetres of snow is already lying in some areas, with more forecast.
Nagoya Castle is seen covered with snow in Nagoya, central Japan (Reuters)

Volcano continues to erupt; Warning issued to residents in Japan

Volcano Alert

Mount Aso in southern Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture continued to spew smoke and ash 1,000 meters into the air Thursday, severely disrupting flights in the region on the southern island of Kyushu and forcing Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) to issue a warning to those in the vicinity to stay away from the volcano, particularly its crater.
In the immediate vicinity of the volcano, which has been erupting for the first time in 19 years since Wednesday, meteorologists from the agency warned residents nearby that volcanic rocks could be launched from the crater and fall within a 1 km radius of the volcano.
On its scale, which ranges from Level 1, meaning “Normal” and Level 5, meaning “Evacuate,” the advisory given by the JMA was between 2 and 3, officials from the agency said, adding that the crater, located near the 1,592-meter peak of the mountain, should be avoided.
The JMA has not raised its warning level to 3, however, meaning the active volcano is still accessible to the public.
They said that volcanic rocks had been detected shooting up as high as 200 meters in the air earlier Thursday and volcanic ash had blanketed the nearby city of Bungo-Ono, in Oita Prefecture, and the town of Gokase, in Miyazaki Prefecture, both of which lie within 50 kms of Mount Aso.
Aso’s eruption follows more than 60 people being killed after Mount Ontake, in central Japan, erupted on Sept. 27. The 3,067- meter volcano, which is situated over both Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, violently erupted in the middle of a busy hiking season.
Weeks before the eruption, as was the case in Kyushu, experts had detected increasing amounts of seismic and volcanic activity in the area.
Mount Aso’s huge caldera, caused by an ancient eruption causing the original collapse of the mouth of the volcano, dominates the southwestern main island of Kyushu, and as recently as last month, seismologists and volcanologists warned that a single massive volcano erupting, such as one of the seven that have occurred on the island in the past 120,000 years, could bury the region and its 7 million inhabitants in deadly molten rock.

Typhoon Phanfone Lashing Japan; Tokyo, Osaka in Cyclone’s Path

Infrared Satellite
Typhoon Phanfone is lashing southern Japan with strong wind, high waves and torrential rain as millions brace for what looks to be a direct impact.
At one point on Saturday, the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center analyzed 150 mph winds within Phanfone, designating it super typhoon. The JTWC has since reduced its estimate of those winds slightly.
The Japan Meteorological Agency, the official regional center for tropical cyclone forecasts in the western North Pacific, indicated 10-minute sustained winds as high as 110 mph within Phanfone Saturday, but has lowered its estimates slightly as well. JMA’s 10-minute wind speeds are usually lower than the 1-minute wind standard used by the U.S.
As of Sunday evening local time, the strongest winds are being felt in the Shikoku region of southern Japan.  Earlier, the island of Kikaijima reported a peak gust of 42.2 meters per second (94.4 mph) at 5:45 a.m. Japanese time Sunday. (Japanese Standard Time, or JST, is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time in the U.S.)
On Saturday, high winds were felt in the Daito Islands, which are part of Okinawa Prefecture. A wind gust of 101 mph was reported on Kitadaito (North Daito Island) before the wind observations were knocked offline. The other two observation sites on the islands, Minamidaito and Kyuto, gusted over 90 mph. Sustained winds maxed out at 57 to 64 mph at all three locations, safely below typhoon force, but the center of Phanfone was 120 kilometers (75 miles) away at its closest approach according to JMA bulletins.
Phanfone is now moving north and will eventually continue its right turn to move toward the north-northeast.
Although Phanfone is moving into an area of increasing vertical wind shear (changes in wind speed and direction with height) as well as cooler ocean waters, the storm will be slow to weaken and will still be a very intense system as it affects the larger islands of Japan.
Phanfone Forecast Path/Intensity
Phanfone has reached the western edge of a bubble of high pressure aloft — and tropical cyclones often turn northward in those situations before eventually being forced northeastward by the prevailing upper-level westerlies, usually becoming post-tropical systems in the process.
The question remains exactly how sharp a turn Phanfone makes, and, therefore, what the exact track of the core circulation is.
Given Phanfone’s large wind field and the latest forecast trends, Phanfone won’t curve sharply enough to avoid at least some impacts from high winds over at least parts of central and eastern Honshu, and possibly western Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and the northern Ryukyu Islands. 
Uncertainty remains, however, regarding Phanfone’s intensity once it tracks near the Japanese mainland. Increased wind shear will induce weakening, but the longer the typhoon keeps its current intensity, the stronger it may still be once it tracks over Japan.
As a result, damaging winds may rake at least part of those areas this weekend, along with the threat of storm surge flooding in surge-prone areas.
Central and eastern Japan alone (the Kansai, Chubu and Kanto regions), including Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo, have a combined population of 85 million.
Here is a general timeline of when we expect peak winds (all times local):
– Kyushu, Shikoku, western Honshu: Through late Sun. night or early Mon. morning
– Central/eastern Honshu (Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo): Later Sunday into Monday
RPM Model Forecast
Regardless of the exact path of Phanfone, heavy rainfall is a given from this storm system.
The typhoon has already lashed the Daito Islands with 9 to 10 inches of rain, despite the lack of high terrain (the islands’ top elevations are barely above 200 feet). As Phanfone approaches the mainland, with numerous mountains 5,000 to 10,000 feet high, the terrain will force the typhoon’s moisture-laden air upward much more efficiently, wringing out very large amounts of rain.
The map above shows the RPM computer model forecast for rainfall through Tuesday morning local time. The map gives a general idea of where heavy rainfall may fall, but it’s important to bear in mind that the official track forecast may differ from the forecast from any individual computer forecast model.
Additionally, Japan’s steep terrain often leads to large variations in local rainfall that often aren’t captured well by computer models. Indeed, in areas where winds blow perpendicular to the steep terrain, rainfall amounts could easily double what’s shown above.
JMA forecast bulletins are predicting anywhere from 500 to 800 mm (roughly 20 to 32 inches) of rain in the Tokai region, including the Nagoya metropolitan area, Japan’s third largest, with roughly the same population as Chicagoland. Other parts of Japan’s Pacific coast could see generally 200 to 600 mm (roughly 8 to 24 inches) of rainfall.
Some of the areas in Phanfone’s path saw historic rainfall from the one-two punch of Tropical Storm Nakri and Typhoon Halong in August. The city of Kochi had over 61 inches of rain in August, its wettest month in records dating back to 1886. The rural hamlet of Shigeto in the mountains of Kochi Prefecture picked up 94.41 inches of rain, crushing its previous all-time record for any calendar month by nearly 40 inches.
Track History
Phanfone was first declared a tropical depression early on September 29, local time, several hundred miles to the east of Guam, then tracked northwestward through the northern Mariana Islands, bringing locally heavy rain, gusty winds and high surf. 
Phanfone strengthened from a Category 1 equivalent typhoon (75 mph estimated max winds) early on the evening of October 1, local time (Japan is 13 hours ahead of U.S. EDT) to a Category 4 equivalent typhoon (130 mph estimated max winds) just 24 hours later, a jump of 55 mph (or 50 knots) in 24 hours.
“Phanfone had the dreaded pinhole eye rarely seen in tropical cyclones,” said The Weather Channel hurricane specialist Michael Lowry. “The eye was so small even our best microwave satellites had trouble seeing it.”

Ontake volcano eruption badly injuring many with so many unconscious in central Japan

Volcano Alert

Seven people were unconscious and eight suffered serious injuries after a volcano erupted in central Japan shortly before noon on Saturday, according to local media.

Ash spewed from the volcano, named the Ontake that straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures in central Japan, has accumulated about 50 cm at the top of the mountain, said local reports, adding the ash would fall into prefectures of Nagano, Gifu and Yamanashi this evening.

According to footage by Japan’s broadcaster NHK, thick gray smoke has spewed up into sky.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) upgraded its 5-stage volcanic alert level to 3, which urges people not to approach the mountain, reported Japan’s broadcaster NHK.

Local fire department said that they have received several emergency calls on injured climbers and about 250 hikers were trapped on the mountain and in a hotel near the top of the volcano.

The JMA is forecasting further eruptions that may affect nearby residents and is warning of large volcanic cinders falling within a 4 km radius of the crater, said Japan’s Kyodo News.

The volcano’s last eruption was in 1979 when it expelled over 200,000 tons of ash. It also went through a minor eruption in 1991 and caused multiple volcanic earthquakes in 2007, reports said.

Severe floods and landslides kills 2 and prompts evacuation advisory for more than 80,000 people in Japan

Floods and landslides following torrential rain in western Japan have killed at least two people and prompted one city to advise more than 80,000 people to flee their homes, officials said on Sunday.

One man was confirmed dead in Kyoto city early on Sunday after he was swept away by a flooded river while trying to build a sandbag barrier, Kyoto prefectural officials said.

In nearby Ishikawa prefecture, the body of a 74-year-old woman was pulled from her house after a landslide, national broadcaster NHK said.

Western and central Japan were Sunday still being battered by heavy rain that started Friday. Fukuchiyama City in Kyoto prefecture experienced rainfall of 303mm during the 24 hours to early Sunday, a record for the city, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.