Saturday, September 24, 2011

Heavy Rains from Typhoon Roke

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Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce

Typhoon Roke
(Western North Pacific Ocean)

Makes Landfall 
Along Southeast 
Coast of Honshu

This rainfall map was created from TRMM satellite data from Sept. 15 to 22, 2011 over and around Japan. It shows a band of very heavy rain stretching northeastward from eastern Kyushu across Shikoku and into southern Honshu from 300 mm (~12 inches, shown in green) to in excess of 550 mm (~22 inches, shown in red). Rainfall of 50 mm/~2 inches appear in light blue, and over 150 mm (~6 inches are shown in blue. )The thin black line is Roke's track, storm symbols mark Roke's 6-hourly positions.) Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce 

Heavy Rainfall in  Japan's Honshu Region

We don't generally monitor tropical storms in the Western North Pacific Ocean during the Atlantic and East Pacific Hurricane Season of June - November but Typhoon Roke warrants mention.   Earlier this year Honshu, Japan suffered a series of devastating earthquakes and a tsunami which cancelled cruises, damaged property, injured and killed many people, and put the country at the brink of a major nuclear disaster.   Still recovering from that devastation, Honshu found itself in the path of Typhoon Roke which made landfall as a Category 1 Typhoon.   It had been as high as a Category 4 Typhoon earlier.

Landslides and flooding triggered by Typhoon Roke left as many as 13 people dead or missing. Authorities had urged more than 2.2 million residents across the country to evacuate their homes as the storm moved north, but it wasn't clear how many had left.

Officials at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where engineers are still struggling with small radiation leaks due to tsunami damage, said that the typhoon's driving winds and rain caused no immediate problems there other than a broken security camera.

Typhoon Roke came less than three weeks after Typhoon Talas, which, after landfall September 3rd, became the deadliest typhoon to rip through Japan in three decades.

Talas left more than 100 people dead or missing as record rainfall triggered mudslides and flooding in the country's central region, the highest death toll since Typhoon Tip in 1979, when 110 people were killed.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Roke was smaller than Talas, but its wind strength was more formidable.

A tropical storm in the West Pacific, when it intensifies, becomes a Typhoon. A typhoon is a tropical storm with sustained winds in excess of 119 km/h or approximately 74 mph.

Names for most severe storms on earth:

When the winds are sustained (based on a one-minute average) at 74 mph (64 knots; 119 km/hr), the storm becomes: In the Atlantic Ocean, East Pacific, Central Pacific (east of the International Dateline) and Southeast Pacific (east of 160°E) a Hurricane; in the Northwest Pacific (west of the International Dateline) a Typhoon; in the Southwest Pacific (west of 160°E) and Southeast Indian Ocean (east of 90°E) a Severe Tropical Cyclone; in the North Indian Ocean a Severe Cyclonic Storm; and in the Southwest Indian Ocean (west of 90°E) a Tropical Cyclone.

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