056. Typhoon Update

1.37am 13 October 2019 Tome, Miyagi prefecture, Japan

I started this morning in Morioka, the capital of Iwate prefecture.  I’ll come back to that nice city in a later post.

I have a ticket to the Namibia – Canada match in Kamaishi on Sunday.  It’s a match I want to see, and a town I want to visit.  But the transport in and out is a bit scratchy, I’d decided, so I’ve hired a car.  Today (yesterday?) I drove down to Tome, a smallish city in Miyagi prefecture, where I’m staying in a really good AirBnB.  Only took a wrong turning three times.

And I’ve been keeping a weather eye on the news from further south, Tokyo way, as Typhoon Hagibis made landfall.  Thankfully it’s lost some of its power, so the wind shouldn’t be so much of an issue. But there have been deaths reported already, and rivers overflowing, and huge waves pounding the coast, and first light will tell the story of how good or bad it’s been.

The sheer amount of water dropping out of the sky is the problem.  And it really began bucketing down here about two hours ago.

My phone has been occasionally sounding alarms from the Japanese emergency services.  Unfortunately they’re in Kanji script, but I jump on to the excellent Japan Meteorological Agency website to find out what it’s about.

The last one came in at 00.30 Sunday morning:

Tome-shi weather warning, 00.30 13 October 2019


I also keep checking the projected track of the typhoon on the JMA site, and a couple of other weather sites.

The short story seems to be that as the typhoon tracks north-east from Tokyo it will cover my district in a heavy drenching: maybe 130mm (five inches) in 5 hours.  And of course the flood threat will last for many hours after the typhoon moves further away. There’s a lot of water to come down from the hills.

My rule for tonight is “Don’t turn your back on a typhoon.” I’m snug and warm where I am, watching some Netflix but certainly not chilling. I’ve located the nearest evacuation centre online, packed a backpack with some peanuts and bananas and passport and wallet, keeping the phone charged to use as a torch if the power goes down, got my thermals and raincoat ready, and keeping an eye on the water in the backyard. If that starts coming up too far I’ll be out of here.

I’ll stay awake most of the night, I think, just because water can move pretty fast.

And while I’m sitting here catching the edge of Hagibis I’m thinking about the tens of millions of people who have already felt it pass directly overhead.

Time for a cup of tea and a biscuit, check the backyard, and catch up on all the Sherlock episodes I missed.

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