【台風19号】HAGIBIS MAKES LANDFALL IN CENTRAL JAPAN
Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in central Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture at around 7pm on Saturday, local time. Hagibis had sustained winds of 144kph and a central pressure of 955hPa right before landfall, making it one of the strongest typhoons to batter the region since record keeping began in 1951. The strongest typhoon was Tess in 1953, which had a central pressure of 946hPa.
Hagibis is categorized as a large typhoon since the area of tropical force winds are over 1,400km in diameter. With the large size, torrential rain started to pound central Japan Friday night. That led to record-breaking rainfall in many places. As of 9pm Saturday, 1,001mm of rain has fallen in Hakone, famous for hot springs, and 759 mm in Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture.
Numerous rivers have overflowed. Police said several people were washed away by churning flood waters in Shizuoka Prefecture and a landslide swallowed several houses in Gunma Prefecture, causing loss of life.
EMERGENCY WARNING FOR RAIN
Unprecedented heavy rain forced authorities to issue emergency warnings, Japan’s highest alert, for 13 prefectures including central Tokyo. The warning is issued when an extraordinary phenomenon of a magnitude never experienced by locals is imminent or already occurring. It was the first time that the warning was posted in the Tokyo area since the warning system was introduced in 2013.
POWERFUL WINDS & TORNADO
Record-shattering winds blasted over Tokyo and surrounding areas at around 8pm. Eastern Tokyo had gusts of 158kph, making it the strongest on record.
The outer cloud band of Hagibis spawned a large tornado. The twister ripped through Ichihara City in Chiba Prefecture on Saturday morning, flattening several houses and blowing away vehicles. A man was found dead inside an overturned car. Five people including three children have been injured.
THREATS ON SUNDAY
As of Saturday, 9 pm, Hagibis is maintaining its typhoon status and moving over central Tokyo. The Japan Meteorological Agency, or JMA, forecasts Hagibis will reach the Pacific Ocean by Sunday morning. Northern Japan’s Tohoku region will experience the peak of the stormy weather overnight Saturday into Sunday.
Authorities are reaching out to give assistance to foreign visitors impacted by Hagibis. The National Tourism Organization is operating telephone hotlines 24 hours a day in English, Chinese and Korean.
For the latest information of Hagibis, please go to JMA’s website. Please stay safe.
ADDENDUM (11/18): 92 people have been confirmed dead due to Hagibis. While 67% of them were killed by flooding, 18% them were killed by landslides. 330 billion yen worth crops have been damaged.