Typhoon 19 2019

We have lived to see another day after the worst typhoon in 60 years to hit the greater Tokyo area and after that the north of Japan.
Typhoon 19 was quite the monster. The worst about it was the rain. We had “ridiculous” amounts of rain with a meter of water coming down in Hakone within 48 hours. Japan is 70 percent mountains and a quite wet country. We have thousands of rivers coming down those mountains. Most of them are small and short, after all no place in Japan is further than 150km from the ocean. The bigger of those rivers have extensive “flood areas”, sports fields and parks, because we already know they flood in spring when the snow melts in the mountains and in autumn when the typhoons come. They talked plenty about the previous worst typhoon record holder for Tokyo from 1958, where over a thousand people died. We have come a long way since that. Warning systems are much better, many rivers are better fortified and so on and so forth. The death toll is currently at 74 I think and might still rise, but it will not go into the thousands.
There are plenty of warning levels for rivers, the worst one is level 5 – overflow = it’s too late. I have lost overview over how many rivers flowed over, getting into inhabited areas. In Tokyo the notorious Tama river did that as well as the Ara river to the north. The Tama river is the boundary between Tokyo and Kawasaki, which is wedged between Tokyo and Yokohama. The Tama river has a huge flood zone, and swaps into it all the time, but that it really overflowed and entered residential areas is a while ago I think.
I live next door to the Tsurumi river, but on a hill and am save from flooding. Actually the Tsurumi river also overflowed, but that’s not even counted, because it did not do damage to residential areas. It flooded the sports park next to the Nissan Stadium, where the rugby match Japan vs. Scotland happened as scheduled less than 24 hours after the storm was over.


The sports park is about one and a half kilometers from where I live. In this picture the main point is not the stadium in the back but note the (deliberate) different height of the dam. Beyond the higher part of the dam the river swapped over into the pond and sports park behind it.

I wonder how long it will take for the sports park to drain and become usable again. A week later it was not flooded anymore, but still closed.

In this picture – do you see the brown line at the wall? That’s how high the water rose for this little river that feeds into the Tsurumi river.


I’m actually amazed that the water level had gone down already that much some 16 hours after the storm. It was a blessing that the Tsurumi could escape into the sports park, that took a lot of pressure off the river and prevented it from doing worse things the remaining 14 km until it reaches the ocean.
As for myself, neither my apartment nor me suffered any damage, knock on wood. The typhoon season is not over yet, it usually stops end of October for Japan, but next year the whole show will start again. This one got so fierce and big because of lingering heat over the Pacific with greetings from global warming. As mentioned before it will happen again and more often in the future and I would like to put climate change deniers right into the path of the next typhoon, without shelter of course…

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