The Washington Post

Dangerous Typhoon Roke rapidly strengthens, to rake Japan

Typhoon Roke from the the Japan Meteorological Agency’s MTSAT weather satellite on September 20, 2011 at 0730z. ( NOAA )

Located about 500 miles southwest of Tokyo, the storm is expected to charge northeast, making landfall on Honshu - just southwest of Tokyo, Wednesday afternoon local time (or late tonight EDT).

On that track, Tokyo would likely be impacted by the storm’s most severe northeast quandrant and contend with wind gusts over 74 mph. The Original Weather Blog writes: If the ... forecast verifies, Tokyo will see a potentially devastating combination of storm surge, flooding rainfall and strong, damaging winds.

Travel to and from Tokyo will almost certainly be severely disrupted Wednesday.

While the Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts some weakening prior to landfall, Roke won’t have much time to do so given its rapid forward motion. At present, the JTWC reports that the storm’s convective structure has “quickly improved.”and that it contains a well-defined “symmetric eyewall surrounding an 18 nautical mile round eye.”

AccuWeather says the storm is currently producing waves to 26 feet. A storm of this intensity is likely to generate a potentially deadly, destructive storm surge. Ahead of the storm, the BBC reports evacuations are underway:

More than a million people in central and western Japan have been urged to leave their homes as a powerful typhoon approaches.

Flooding rain is forecast to cause additional problems reports

Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) warns that heavy rainfall brought by the approaching typhoon Roke could trigger landslides and floods in western and central Japan, parts of which saw hourly rainfall between 30 and 40 millimeters on Tuesday evening.

AccuWeather expressed concerns about the storm’s impacts on the Fukishima-Dai-Iche nuclear plant:

Workers trying to control leakage into the basements of nuclear reactors at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi power plant may need to be evacuated ahead of the storm, with more than 6 inches (150 mm) of rain expected to fall over the reeling prefecture.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.


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