Japan under siege: First came its worst typhoon in 25 years

Japan has faced an onslaught of natural disasters this year, which seem unrelenting. A double-whammy struck this week, Typhoon Jebi and earthquake-induced landslides, which have left the country reeling.

Typhoon Jebi slammed Japan as an intense Category 1 storm at landfall. The storm left at least 11 dead, and officials in Japan’s weather agency have called it the worst typhoon to strike the country since 1993.

The typhoon packed sustained winds around 85 mph at landfall, and gusts as high as 130 mph were recorded. Jebi also delivered a substantial rise in water at the coast, or storm surge, as well as flooding rain.

In the days before striking Japan, Jebi was a Category 5 super typhoon. It attained the status of the strongest storm on the planet this year, so far. As we’ve seen in numerous instances, while the storm did weaken on approach, it’s former massive shell perhaps allowed it to produce wind, waves and damage more typical of a stronger storm at landfall.

Kansai Airport, where that peak wind gust from Jebi was recorded, was also mostly submerged by storm surge as the storm made landfall.

The Mainichi, a daily newspaper in Japan, reports the storm surge in Osaka Prefecture reached at least 3.29 meters in height, which is close to 11 feet above the normal tidal level. According to information they have received, that surpassed a prior record of around three meters from a typhoon called Nancy in 1961.

As if Japan needed another disaster this summer, a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 struck the Hokkaido area of northern Japan. This quake has been blamed for at least eight deaths, and it triggered a series of major landslides across the region. Like the rest of the country, the epicenter zone has seen plentiful rainfall of late, which may have amplified the landslide activity.

Keeping track of the disasters to strike Japan is becoming increasingly arduous, since they keep on coming. Residents will undoubtedly be hoping for a much-needed break in the time ahead as cleanup from multiple disasters continues into the fall.