Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Posts tagged ‘weather’

Blue skies after the typhoon

Spring is really here

I know that spring is really truly here when I can go outside without a jacket or sweater. This is the first day of the year it is that comfortable outside. It’s a Monday, but perfect for hanami.

doug@tired of cold days

Japan’s Strongest Storm Since 1959 Slams Into Tokyo Region

Japanese airlines canceled hundreds of flights, some train services were halted and thousands of workers went home early as some of the strongest winds in more than 50 years hit Tokyo today.

The weather agency issued a tornado warning for the Tokyo area after the storm dumped as much as 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) of rain an hour in central Japan as it crossed from the southwest, with winds gusting up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) an hour. An 82-year-old woman died after being knocked over by the wind and hitting her head, national broadcaster NHK reported.

“Our company closed early but I stayed longer to finish work,” said Akio Fukuzaki, an engineer waiting in line at a Tokyo train station for operations to resume. “I should have left earlier.”

As many as 11,500 households have lost power because of the storm in Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures, Hokuriku Electric Power Co. (9505)said in a statement. At least 60 people have been injured in 17 prefectures, NHK reported, showing a golf driving range destroyed in Hiroshima in western Japan.

Sustained winds in Tokyo may reach 90 kph during its evening peak, Takeo Tanaka, head of the weather advisory office at the Japan Meteorological Agency, said in a telephone interview. That would make it the strongest storm to hit the capital since 1959, when Tokyo was buffeted by winds of 97 kph, data from the weather agency show.

“People should try to avoid going out,” Tanaka said. “It’s very unusual for Tokyo to have such strong winds when there’s not a typhoon,” he said, referring to the tropical storms that regularly strike Japan between May and October.

Grounded Planes

All Nippon Airways Co. (9202) and Japan Airlines Co. (9201), the nation’s two largest airlines, canceled 566 flights, stranding more than 68,000 passengers. All Nippon scrapped 336 flights, affecting about 38,000 people, the airline said in a faxed statement, while Japan Air (9201) canceled 230 domestic flights that had 39,500 passengers. Both airlines warned that international services may also be disrupted.

East Japan Railway Co. (9020), the largest railway operator in the Tokyo region, canceled some trains due to strong winds, according to itswebsite. Express services on the Chuo line, linking western suburbs with the city center, were scrapped, while regular services were running at 70 percent frequency, the operator said. Some expressways were also closed in the capital.

Leaving Early

Bullet train services linking Tokyo and Osaka were also disrupted, Central Japan Railway Co. (9022) said on its website.

The weather agency issued warnings for waves as high as 10 meters (33 feet) on the northwest coast of Honshu and up to 8 meters along the Pacific coast hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year. After passing Tokyo, the storm is forecast to dump heavy rain on the disaster-hit Tohoku region.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (MOTZ) issued an advisory for companies to send employees home where possible to avoid transport disruption, the first time such a warning has been issued for a storm that isn’t a typhoon, a spokesman said.

Sony Corp. (6758) advised 16,000 employees in Tokyo to leave work early to avoid the storm, spokesman George Boyd said in an e- mail.Nissan Motor Co. (7201) ordered employees at its headquarters in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, and other facilities in Kanagawa prefecture (KANZ) to leave work at 2 p.m. today, spokesman Toshitake Inoshita said by phone.

JVC Kenwood Corp. (6632), also based in Kanagawa, sent workers home, the company said in a statement on its website. Fujitsu Ltd. (6702)said it gave 25,000 employees the option to leave work early, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

No Baseball

Professional baseball games were canceled in Yokohama, Tokyo and Saitama, north of the capital, Kyodo News reported. Some schools in Tokyo closed at lunchtime.

Today’s storm, caused by a low pressure front that formed over the Sea of Japan, differs from the typhoons or tropical storms which form over warm water in the Pacific and develop into a cyclone with surface wind circulation, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Typhoon Talas killed 67 people in September, the nation’s deadliest storm in seven years.

“Usually the low pressure systems develops east of Japan but this is unusual because the low pressure system has developed in the Sea of Japan,” Masashi Kunitsugu, at the weather agency’s typhoon center, said in an interview. “It usually develops after passing the islands of Japan.”

Oil Refineries

The storm dumped heavy rain overnight on Japan’s southwest island of Kyushu before moving northeast toward Osaka and Tokyo.

Cosmo Oil Co. (5007) halted oil barge berthing at its refineries at Chiba and Yokkaichi, west of Tokyo, Katsuhisa Maeda, a company spokesman, said by phone earlier today. The refiner may also stop loading and unloading barges at processing plants at Sakai, south of Osaka, and Sakaide on the island of Shikoku.

JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corp., Japan’s largest refiner, stopped barge berthing at its Marifu refinery in western Japan, as well as its Negishi refinery in Yokohama, according to a company official who declined to be identified citing the company’s internal policy.

Idemitsu Kosan Co. (5019) stopped berthings at its Chiba, Aichi and Tokuyama refineries, spokesman Kei Uchikawa said.

West Japan Railway Co. (9021) canceled bullet train services on the Sanyo Shinkansen line between Osaka and Hakata station in Kyushu, the company said on its website.


Torrential rains in my neighborhood

Something about the high winds blowing in the background, and the seasons changing so suddenly made me just slump over in my chair around noon, listening the sounds of nature outside.

Finally I dragged myself out of my slumber and shook myself awake, figuring I ought to do some grocery shopping. But… what was that sound? I looked outside and saw this (click to see video – expand to full screen for best effect). Huge, torrential, sweeping rains. An umbrella won’t help here.

Well, I hope anybody who is out and about are managing to find a snug, dry place to hole up until this passes by.


Spring winds

Since yesterday there have been extremely strong, balmy winds blowing through Tokyo. They were strong enough to keep you awake at night, and are still swirling around and howling outside.

This happens every year, and seems to mark the true beginning of spring in Japan. So except for pollen sufferers, most people seem really happy that winter is finally over.

I am looking forward to a very low electric bill next month!


Last day of February snow

Brr.. The snow is coming down now and my steps are treacherous. But I need to go out in an hour or 2 to run some errands somehow. And I think the cats are waiting for food under the stairs. What a mess.


Snowy rooftops this morning


First real snow of the season 新小岩の大雪

This is the view from my 3rd floor veranda just before.


It’s snowing! 雪が降っている!

It’s snowing here in Shinkoiwa. Not much. Probably won’t stick. But it’s the first snow of the year.


Typhoon is past – and as soon as it stopped raining we had a magnitude 5.3 earthquake

I was playing with Hao and Mon and they stopped dead in their tracks and sort of looked around with a, “What was that?” expression.

It was a short quake. At the epicenter which was further north, it was a 5- on the Japanese scale of 7. No tsunami warning.


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